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Chris Richardson
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Chris Richardson

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Haynesworth and Shanahan share blame


When Albert Haynesworth played for the Tennessee Titans, running out of a 4-3 defense, he was one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL -- well, when he wasn't stomping the faces of opposing offensive linemen, but I digress. Haynesworth was so impressive, especially in 2008 (a contract year) that Washington Redskins owner Dan Synder, an NFL owner noted for being incredibly frugal -- *cough-cough* -- surprised everybody when he dropped a $100 million contract in Haynesworth's lap.

After a decent-but-not-dominant 2009, Synder again jettisoned his then-coaching staff and replaced with the man who perhaps owes his career to the arm of John Elway, Mike Shanahan. The new regime brought about a change in the defensive philosophy of the Redskins, that is, switching it from a 4-3 to a 3-4, which reduces the effectiveness of defensive tackles, and is an obvious departure from the style in which Haynesworth previously thrived.

During contract years, especially.

The inevitable backlash from Synder's prized signing appeared, manifesting in an unwillingness to play (shameless plug) by the new coach's rules, which led directly the Haynesworth-versus-Shanahan circus we've all been enjoying for that past month or so.

The question that's been bugging me is why go 3-4 with Haynesworth? His effectiveness as a defensive tackle is pretty apparent, so the decision to potentially -- and very likely -- limit the effectiveness of the Redskins' best defensive player is puzzling. I'm guessing Brian Orakpo at linebacker has a lot to do with that.

That isn't to say Haynesworth isn't without blame, but then again, some say his tactics of stalling-by-failing Shanahan's conditioning tests are genius. He clearly didn't want to practice during training camp, and the do-si-do with the conditioning test enabled him to get what he wanted.

Running his mouth to the media, however, has a way of ruining chemistry around the locker room.

So what now? Haynesworth's talent is too tantalizing to leave him on the bench -- why else would he even be playing if a repeat of the Jon Gruden/Keyshawn Johnson amicable split were coming? Further, when London Fletcher vouches for you, especially after calling you a selfish teammate, you probably have something to offer the team other than drama.

Of course, the more obvious explanation is Fletcher wants all this junk to go away so he and his team can focus on football, an apparent novel idea in Redskins land.

By Chris Richardson  |  August 24, 2010; 2:12 PM ET  | Category:  NFL , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Well put. There is blame on both sides, such as for the "basically a headache" comment when AH was ill. That inflamed public dislike of AH and was unworthy of Shanny. If he did not want his job to be on the line during his first training camp, he should have not put it on the line by picking a fight with Albert.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | August 26, 2010 7:27 AM

On another bog, thinker wrote:
Maybe Shanny will send McNabb out in the 3rd quarter with the rest of the second and third teamers. I mean, if you don't practice, you don't play. New rule.
Come to think of it, coach did enforce a rule that if you get hurt and don't practice, you play in the 3rd quarter of the game with the backups fighting to make the team. Coach said this and did this, just last week with Fat Al.

For all of you supporting coach cause he's the coach, coach is the boss at your job that makes the work rules as they go along. "It depends" is their life motto, especially at work. Short for "it depends who he's talking about and if he likes the injured person or not".

Easily explains why an injured Fat Al had to play in the 3rd quarter when an injured McNabb has not at all been criticized by coach for his injuries. Not exactly like he cut hit by Ray Lewis and Urlacher combined.

Posted by: morrisday1 | August 26, 2010 8:06 AM

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