ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Linebacker Brian Orakpo is a fan of the new Washington Redskins practice schedule. He likes the idea of going straight from the walk-through session to the main practice without a long break in between.
Whether it translates into wins is another matter.
Coach Jay Gruden, faced with a 1-5 start in which little has gone right, decided to tinker with the daily routine this week. Fundamentals are getting more emphasis at practice, and Thursday's meeting and practice schedules were more streamlined.
''You've got to switch it up,'' Orakpo said. ''I understand where he's coming from. You can't keep being stagnant with doing the same things.''
There's only so much the first-year coach can do. A truckload of All-Pro players isn't about to pull up in the parking lot to boost the talent level. No one is conjuring up miracle cures to get all the injured players back on the field. The coaches can't keep the players on the field in full pads for hours on end as punishment - the rules won't allow that.
But something's got to change, if only because it's something different.
''The preparation as far as watching tape and installing offenses and defenses can't change,'' Gruden said. ''But maybe the way we practice and change up some periods here and there will just give a little freshness to everything and keep moving forward.''
Gruden could have more changes in store that he's keeping secret, perhaps a new wrinkle or two in the playbook for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans. Regardless, the coaches and players are the first to realize that a new practice time and a new drill or two won't be enough to turn the Redskins into a juggernaut.
''You're just trying to be more efficient in what you do, whether it's meeting time or practice time,'' defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. ''It still boils down to guys have to make plays, and we've got to put them in positions to make plays.''
Other moves Gruden can make are intangible ones, such as saying the right things to keep the spirits up. There can be no sense of throwing in the towel with 10 games to play.
''I still have total faith in this team, this coaching staff, that we will turn this thing around and we will play better,'' Gruden said. ''That's the only way we can coach. We can't just hang our heads and (say), `You stink, you stink, I stink, everybody stinks.' You guys (reporters) can say that, but around here we are going to be very positive.''
Left tackle Trent Williams said such pep talks can only go so far.
''He's trying to be positive, but we're a bunch of grown men,'' Williams said. ''We don't really need a motivator. We've got to play well. We haven't been playing well as of late. We haven't been playing together. We're just not playing like a team who deserves to win.''
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