Friday, August 6, 2010
Mike Shanahan's Rookie Treatment Shows Albert Hayneworth's Cowardice
When Albert Haynesworth finally ambled unhappily into Redskins Park, new head coach Mike Shanahan wanted to see how football-ready the highly paid defensive lineman was. Haynesworth showed up after announcing he had shed 15 pounds from his playing weight of 350 in 2009.
Shanahan wanted to see if the weight loss translated into being in playing shape. He asked Haynesworth to run three 100-yard dashes in succession, but Haynesworth has yet to complete the task after a week. Between bathroom breaks and excuses, Haynesworth has made it evident he is showing his displeasure at being a member of the Washington Redskins.
A year ago, Haynesworth was one of the most sought after free agents in the NFL. He signed a 7-year deal at $100 million with Washington, $20 million less than what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offered. His reasoning was he wanted to play in front of the Redskins large fan base, something he had yet to experience in his career as a football player.
He struggled most of 2009, and said then-defensive coordinator Greg Blatche's schemes would have him unable to "survive another season in this system if it stays the way it is." Though the Redskins replaced Blache with Jim Haslett, they also decided to run the 3-4 defense in 2010. It is the first time in the teams history that they will run this as their base defense, and Haynesworth has voiced his displeasure with that decision as well.
Haynesworth has never played nose tackle, and is thought to be too big and slow to play defensive end. The weight loss may be his way to attempt to get quick enough to play end, because nose tackle may be the most difficult and brutal position to play in football. Though he frequently faced double-teams in blockers, he would take this and even triple-teams on each and every play at nose tackle.
Instead of embracing the challenge, or for, perhaps, the betterment of the team, Haynesworth has continued to grouse. He is mostly know to Redskins Nation for his constant complaining and $32 million he has collected thus far, not his play on the gridiron. His whining has fallen mostly on deaf ears, though Shanahan took him to task in a "put up or shut up" challenge.
The swelling of the knee has been put out to the media as a major reason Haynesworth has stood watching his teammates practice this week. He has not yet been reported as a distraction in the teams clubhouse, though there has to be a question how much his teammates question him, his drive, or his real desire to win. It mostly seems his main path is to take the money and saunter, not run, to the training room as his fellow Redskins drip beads of sweat under their helmets.
Though it seems quite apparent Shanahan cannot back down on his idealism to get Haynesworth ready to take the field. However, so far he has encountered a similar stubbornness from an overpaid child unwilling to earn his keep. Instead of getting ready to face opponents in hopes of attaining a championship, the only battle in camp has been of wills.
Who caves in first in the ugly tug-of-war is anyone guess. There is a division amongst observers on who is just in their cause and who will prevail. In the era of the Prima donna athlete, most players are used to getting their way. Shanahan's old school approach may seem outdated to many, who perceive his treatment of Haynesworth to be a rookie move straight from the Vince Lombardi playbook. A playbook that won so much, the league named their championship trophy after the Hall of Fame coach, something most players most likely aren't aware of nor care.
What exactly Albert Haynesworth cares about is anybodies guess. Money or rings, the only answer can come from his ego and spirit. Time is ticking on training camp, and the Redskin have to be concerned how many quarters each game they can depend on a man who can't even run the length of the field three times in an entire day.