RICHMOND, Va. -- July 26 marked the first day this training camp the Washington Redskins players wore their shoulder pads for practice. Even without any lower-body pads, this transition lends itself to more physical practices and allows the coaches to get a better feel for what players can do with more than just shorts and a jersey on.
But it's not just the coaches that are taking note of how players adjust, quarterback and team leader Robert Griffin III is also looking for "the real football players."
"I don't think the NFL wants there to be a huge difference but there's a lot more physicality when the pads go on," Griffin said. "You know, guys are more willing to hit somebody. …It's a different mindset for the guys, you know, running backs have to block, fullbacks have to go block those linebackers, and you could see it today at practice.
"When the pads are going that's when you find the real football players. Football's a physical game and we have some physical specimens on this team, so you do see that, but I think everyone likes to think if they look good in shorts and in shirts that they'll look good in pads."
That physical style of practicing that Griffin talked about mixed with the hot weather can also bring about some activity after the play is finished.
The first scuffle between Redskins teammates this training camp happened July 26 between linebacker Darryl Sharpton and offensive tackle Tom Compton during 11-on-11 drills. The two gripped each other up after the play was finished, which was followed by a few punches thrown by Sharpton. But no harm was done and coaches and teammates quickly separated the players.
Evan Royster not practicing fully with hamstring injury
There are six running backs fighting for roster spots during this year's camp, and the first and second team spots will be handled by Alfred Morris and Roy Helu Jr., respectively. But the third team running back spot, and perhaps even a fourth, are wide open. But that only helps the players that are able to get on the field, which has been the issue for Evan Royster so far as he has not been able to practice fully yet because of a sore left hamstring.
"The first day I just kind of took an awkward step and it was a little wet, so I just kind of over-extended myself," Royster said.
He has been able to do warm ups and some light running on the side, but does not want to rush himself back before he's ready to compete to his fullest potential.
"I understand that I need to make sure that I'm healthy before I get out there," Royster said. "I've seen guys go out there before they're healthy and hurt it worse."
Royster admitted that it's been tough to see other guys out there making plays but that he's doing what he can to prepare himself for when he is ready to play.
"I've just been trying to get stronger and get faster and learn the new playbook," Royster said. "The biggest thing is just adjusting to the different schemes that we are putting in this year. …After being in the last offense for three years, you kind of get those habits and you kind of have to eliminate those before you can start learning the new stuff."
After showing signs of being a back that can contribute in the NFL during his rookie season in 2011, Royster's playing time was limited in the past two years under the Shanahan regime. When healthy, he's looking forward to showing the new coaches what he can do.
"Hopefully I can be somebody who comes in and runs the ball," Royster said. "My rookie year I got a chance to run it a little bit and after that I haven't really had a chance, so I'm hoping this new coaching staff is going to give me a chance."
In the press conference following practice July 26, Gruden said Royster has a "slight hamstring pull and is day-to-day.