ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — The Washington Redskins are getting a dose of the octagon as part of their offseason conditioning program.
The coaching staff is hopeful the Mixed Martial Arts techniques being taught at Redskins Park will translate into an advantage for players in game situations.
“We’re doing a few different things this year in the offseason program to change it up,” Adam Carriker told me recently on 4th & Pain.
As Carriker sees it, the hand placement techniques being taught by the MMA instructor will yield a huge advantage for lineman battling for position.
“I think it’s extremely crucial for lineman,” said Carriker. “Just because you’re stronger doesn’t mean you’re going to win (in the trenches). You need to have low pad level, good hand placement, and especially being a defensive lineman doing the chop club, doing the club rip.”
As one may suspect, the players aren’t completely subscribing to the “all work and no play” philosophy. Naturally, some are beginning a half-hearted exploration of a potential post-NFL career.
“They’re trying to semi kick the crap out of each other in a playful way,” said Carriker. “They’re having fun with it.”
The defensive lineman, whose season was cut short by a torn quadriceps tendon in 2012, says a lot of players take up boxing for similar reasons.
And the odds of the Redskins installing an octagon full-time?
“I think we should just do the steel cage,” he joked while sliding into pro wrestling mode. “Niles Paul, you called me out on Twitter. Quit running from me.”
Apparently that feud began after Paul stole a WWE title belt that hangs in Carriker’s locker and proclaimed himself stronger than the man who has ‘the largest arms on the d-line.’
In addition to MMA instruction, the Redskins also brought in a nutritionist to help educate players.
The team went a gentler route last year and utilized a palates instructor from a studio owned by Kedric Golston and former teammate Lorenzo Alexander.