The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for

It's Snyder's mess


When the Redskins swooped in on the first day of free agency in March 2009 and gave Albert Haynesworth a contract worth close to $100 million, anyone who has been around the NFL for a while had a pretty good inkling of what would eventually happen:

Just what's happening now. Haynesworth underachieving; Haynesworth out of shape; Haynesworth yet another albatross around the neck of the team and its owner: Daniel "I'll never learn'' Snyder.

The genesis of the Haynesworth show came in 2008, when Albert had his best year -- eight and a half sacks and three forced fumbles -- achieving all that some folks had predicted for him when he came out of Tennessee. Despite his ability, he was just the 15th overall pick in the 2002 draft and the fourth defensive tackle chosen because a lot of teams questioned his work ethic, although to be fair, two of the tackles taken before him, Ryan Sims by Kansas City and Wendell Bryant by Arizona, were almost total busts.

Still, most folks noted that 2008 proved what most football people knew about Albert -- that he was a member of the "I play when I feel like it school,'' an expression coined by Randy Moss. And that he played hard that year so he could get paid the next.

Snyder bit. Yes, there were other suitors, but only informally. The Giants, a team that usually makes wise decisions, inquired after Haynesworth and quickly backed away when they heard the asking price. So did all the others, leaving Snyder, as he has done so often, bidding against himself for a player that most scouts figured would take the money and ...

Slack off.

To be fair, he didn't. He played hurt in 2009 and when he played, he sometimes was the force he'd been the previous year in Tennessee. But when Mike Shanahan took over as coach this year, he had no chance -- not with the team switching to a 3-4.

So he didn't show up for workouts, he kept flunking conditioning tests and now he's stuck as a backup and although he could be the second best DE in the NFL behind Pittsburgh's Aaron Smith, the fact that most people haven't heard of Smith is one reason he won't be -- the job of a 3-4 DE in Washington is to allow a more mobile linebacker, Brian Orakpo in this case, to get the sacks, the glory and .... eventually the money.

So blame Albert for the mess.

But blame Snyder more. Dan keeps blaming the messenger -- he shamelessly fired Zack Bolno, one of the NFL's best PR guys, presumably because the Skins continue to get bad pub.

Hey, Dan, look in the mirror. Yes, Albert is to blame and so is Shanny, who is determined to run him off.

But you brought him to town for almost double the money anyone else would pay.

For the umpteenth time, it's your mess.

By Dave Goldberg  |  August 24, 2010; 12:10 AM ET  | Category:  Dave Goldberg , NFL , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Don't count your chickens | Next: No excuses for Albert


Please email us to report offensive comments.

How can you blame Shanahan, i.e., Shanny? What's he supposed to do, center the team's system around Big Al? Give him a separate set of rules from the rest of the team? For what? So Al deems it worthy go play hard, with pride, and, oh yeah, EARN his 21 million? Get real, fool!

Playing devil's advocate, if I were Shanny I would have flown out to visit him and said, "Look, we'll move you'll around, you'll create chaos, you'll be like Reggie White. We got this big space heater dude from Samoa to be on nose sometimes so you be there half the time. Don't worry, you'll get more sacks and tackles in this system than the old one, trust me. But you gotta show, I need you, the richest dude on the team, to represent. This is the best thing to ever happen to you. Now lose 30lbs and be ready to rumble." Or something like that.

Still, I have to say that nothing Shanny has done has been unreasonable, especially for a team that was a disaster last year, and an embarrassment as well. Work, hustle, be in good condition, learn the new system and have a positive, or at least professional, attitude.

Is this too much to ask of a pro football player? A guy like London Fletcher is begging to have the coach bust people's butt and set high standards. Because London is the only guy on the team to have been to, and won,the Superbowl.

Even the happy-go-lucky Saints had discipline and accountability. Because that's what it takes to win, fool.

Go Shanny. I got yo back.

Posted by: chocobear78 | August 26, 2010 3:31 AM

Sorry, Shanny blew it by making it a test of his leadership, when he had not yet earned it by anything he had done for the Redskins. He blew it by the "basically a headache" comment, by continuing to insinuate that AH is out of shape when the world can see he is not, and by going through this ridiculous "AH must earn his starting spot" nonsense when the whole world knows AH will start against Dallas, or if not start, play as much as a starter.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | August 26, 2010 7:23 AM

WRONG Tampa offered more than Snyder did for Fatty. Sorry to put a dent in your thesis.

Posted by: dwolfe1519 | August 26, 2010 12:58 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company