Another Sad Chapter In the Albert Haynesworth Saga

Steve O Speak

I’ll have more to say on the subject later, but here are my quick thoughts on the Albert Haynesworth suspension:

-First, I’m disappointed with Haynesworth for not handling his frustration in a more mature manner, by playing out this season and then demanding a trade. It would have been the best thing for him in the long run and gone a long way to making his next job a heck of a lot easier.

-Everyone who thinks that Albert Haynesworth was a bust needs to watch game film, because he is by far the Redskins best player. His tackles and sacks might be light, but that has more to do with the fact of the schemes that they have used him in. Right now he leads this team in TFL and is 2nd in sacks and QB pressures, not too shabby considering the facts.

Haynesworth had missed 4 games, and averaged maybe 20 snaps in the 8 games that he played. Furthermore, Haynesworth received more double and even triple teams than any other Redskin. His presence last year went a long way with Orakpo and Carter having double-digit sacks. Despite playing in two new systems that didn’t play to his strengths, Haynesworth had a noticeable impact in games and forced teams to change strategies or commit penalties.

-The Redskins mishandled this from day one. You don’t go out and grab one of the best defensive players in the game and not play to his strengths. That would be like if the Saints became a run first team when they signed Drew Brees. You brought Haynesworth in for a reason, to be disruptive in the backfield, so asking him to be either a read and react DT or a NT, would be akin to asking Alexander Ovechkin to just play defense and pass the puck, or Albert Pujols to only try to hit singles. And it’s not like it is an earth shattering concept either, since the Redskins changed to the 3-4 to allow Brian Orakpo to be a better pass rusher, and moved LaRon Landry to SS so he could play to his strengths. Playing Haynesworth just on passing downs made zero sense, especially since despite that he still leads the team in tackles for a loss.

-Why is Albert Haynesworth the scapegoat for this team? If you listen to the fans, read the media reports or hear Shanahan talk , you would think that Haynesworth is to blame for the Redskins 5-7 record. Really???? Because last I checked the Redskins are just 1-3 in games that Albert doesn’t suit up, and 4-4 when he does play. Now that is a bit of a simplistic way to look at it, but with the exception of the Cowboys game, Albert had good games the other 7 weeks. In fact there were some weeks that he was either the best defensive player, or make a game saving play despite the limited snaps. Is Haynesworth to blame for any of it? Not really, just about every offseason move, be it draft pick, trade or signing has been a huge mistake for the Redskins this season, yet somehow Haynesworth is the one everyone is talking about. I just don’t get it.

-Why does Shanahan seem to coddle every other player but ‘Big Al’? Is it purely an ego thing? Is it that Haynesworth objects to the way he is being used? When Shanahan and McNabb had issues, Father and son made every excuse in the book for the move and also to defend why McNabb hasn’t been playing well. And they went so far as to give him an extra $3 million this year, for the right to overpay him the next year and into the future if they so choose. Despite all that hand-holding, McNabb’s numbers have gotten worse since signing his extension. And guess what? Haynesworth made more plays in that Titans victory than McNabb did (though he did actually convert some 3rd downs). Maybe if Shanahan geared his defense towards Haynesworth like he has for other players or hold his hand and make excuses like he has for McNabb, maybe Haynesworth wouldn’t have fought back. Because guess what else?  He could have put Haynesworth, Orakpo and Landry all in a position to succeed, as it wasn’t one or the other.  Which could have actually led to the Redskins being a fun team to watch instead of the embarrassment they have been this season.

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