WaPo: Shanahan should be the bigger man in the Albert Haynesworth saga

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TomE

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Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan should be the bigger man in the Albert Haynesworth saga

According to Mike Wise at the Washington Post


"The benevolent people of Ashburn have already doled out $32 million of a guaranteed $41 million to the ingrate and, unfair as it may sound, now have to give more.

Don't misunderstand.

Given the past few months, if the Redskins tell Albert Haynesworth to hand-wash Colt Brennan's athletic supporter and hang it out to dry in the 400 section of FedEx Field on game day -- using the zigzag ramps, not the elevators -- he should feel honored and reach for the Woolite.

But that's not reality. The reality is they need to make this work. And the person who needs to compromise now might not be Big Al.

People close to Haynesworth have told The Post that the two-time All-Pro defensive lineman is in shape. They say he will report to camp on time next week. They also say he is still not happy about having to play nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. But he understands this is the hand dealt in a regime change, that he has no choice but to go back to work.

Mike Shanahan, your move.

The biggest wild card emerging days before Thursday's inaugural Camp Shanny is not whether a $100 million malcontent wants to be here. (Haynesworth has wanted out for months. If he could hold out and keep his money he probably would.) The game-changer is how Shanahan deals with the $100 million malcontent.

And if My-Way Mike knows what's good for him, he will bend.

He doesn't have to cave. He doesn't even have to meet Haynesworth halfway. But he needs to show he isn't just interested in making Haynesworth's life miserable in the steam and humidity of August in Ashburn.

No matter how furious Shanahan is over one of the most dominant defensive players in the game shunning offseason workouts -- after taking a $21 million bonus check on April 1 and then essentially separating from the organization as if he was in a bad marriage -- the coach has to put part of his effusive pride aside and realize the truth:

A hungry, healthy and apparently slimmed-down Albert makes the Redskins a much more formidable team, even if he doesn't like the position he's playing.

If Haynesworth lives up to his end of the collective bargaining agreement -- and with the exception of one mandatory practice missed last month, believe it or not he has -- Shanahan has to know that giving a 300 pound-plus wayward soul an honest opportunity at redemption is good for everyone...."


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Goaldeje

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I don't have a problem with Shanahan not being vindictive- in fact, as gratifying as it would be for me the fan, I would be pretty disappointed in any coach who did that. Shabby can't excuse his behavior, or let him get away with anything less than what the rest of e team is doing, but he doesn't have to make him work harder than everyone else either, IMO.

The way i see it, Fat Al has more to answer to his teammates than to his coach.
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Om

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Not sure Wise is really taking all that aggressive a stance here, despites the WP's subtle attempt to spin it so.

Shanahan Should be Willing to Not Have His Reebok's Set in Concrete on Haynesworth

Ooooh .... edgy. :)
 

riggins44

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The key is going to be how well Haynesworth is accepted in the locker room. If he is out of shape or pouts, then there may be a larger problem.

If Haynesworth is welcomed back and plays nice, then think Shanahan is smart enough to use this to everyone's advantage.
 

SNF

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I seem to have missed Wise's point. Did he make one? What does he feel is compromising on the coaches' part? From the public statements they expect Haynesworth to come in, work hard and be a major contributor to the defense. That seems to be what Wise is saying they should do. What's the compromise?

Is he talking about the the coaches working him harder than the rest of the team at the beginning of camp? Fat Al should expect that and deal with it. He earned it and he should know that. If that's not a part of camp then the rest of the players lose a little respect for the coaches right off the bat. If he's in great shape, as his trainer claims, then he'll get through it and earn some respect form his coaches and teammates. The team as a whole is better if Albert suffers a bit in camp.

In my mind at least, working him hard in the pre-season, keeping him on the roster, and making him inactive for every game would be the strongest lesson. Not doing that would be the compromise.

Everything the head coach has said indicates that they expect fat Al to be a major contributor to the defense if he's on the team, and he'll be on the team unless someone finally offers true value in a trade. For all sides, a pouting malcontent will not generate a solid trade offer. Al needs to suck it up, do what he's told, and show the NFL he's still a dominant player if he wants thing to change.
 

Elephant

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I have to agree with SNF, Haynesworth being permitted to come to camp and be a part of this team is the compromise. The authority does not lie with a malcontent baby, it lies in the front office and coaching staff. This is not about Albert Haynesworth being "owed" anything. He is being given the opportunity to showcase his talents on the football field. That is a privilege, not a right. To top it off he has been compensated handsomely!

When Big AL gets to camp, they should run him harder to see what good his off-season regiment has done for him. They should put him to the test to see if he was "working hard" as his trainer suggests. The only word we have been given about his conditioning is from the Haynesworth camp. Let's see what he has! If he comes to camp in shape and ready to play, then he gets to play. If not, sit him on the inactive list all season long!

I saw an interesting piece on ESPN last night that I hope Big Al saw. It was about how successful Darnell Dockett has been in the scheme, averaging better numbers than Haynesworth over the past several years with Haynesworth in his coveted 4-3. He would be wise to realize this scheme could get him to the Pro-Bowl!

I still think when a team who is in contention (projected of course) early in the season has an interior lineman go down early in the pre-season, we will see some realistic offers for a trade.
 

TomE

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Yeah, the turmoil of a regime change can cause reflux more often than most would admit to.

Strange it is that amongst the biggest offseason stories have revolved around newish members of the team.

McNabb the hated Eagle, the older than we need veteran who's won the hearts of many with his leadership and professionalism.

Haynesworth admired for his talent and relative youth who's done nothing but numb the hearts of most with his lack of selflessness and perceived inability to be a pro.

I agree that big Al can do right by being a pro from here-on-out and Shanny and the locker room can do right by being the same way.... "stay medium" again comes to mind as training camp proceeds and the situation plays out.

I just hope that it all plays out for maximum benefit to the team.
 

servumtuum

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I just hope that it all plays out for maximum benefit to the team.
That's the key phrase for me, TomE. To me the team comes first, over and above the individual players and any ego-tripping on the part of the coaching staff-something I have to admit I've been a tiny bit afraid of with Shanny with his "my way or the highway" history-but he is at least been saying the things I like to hear recently and he does have a good performance track record. In other words, however the whole Haynesworth soap-opera plays out-I just want the Skins to be a better football team than they have been and if Big Al comes in and shows himself in shape physically as well as mentally then I'm cool with that. If he comes in with the petulant self-centeredness his fellow players have been complaining about then he's become a toxic influence that can only do the team as a whole harm and plopping him on the bench would not be a "punishment" or "lesson learning" exercise-both of which are non-productive-but simply a means of keep essential team morale at the level necessary to play good football.
 

brandies

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Where are the Dave Butz of yesteryear?
 

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Where are the Dave Butz of yesteryear?
Well, Darnell Dockett is going to be available next off-season. He grew up a Skins fan and has expressed interest in playing here if things had changed from the circus it had become.
 

Jimbo

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I disagree with Wise. To totally get the respect of the team, Shanahan HAS to make an example of Haynesworth if he comes in and bitches, gripes or doesn't give 100% effort. You can cut him, eventually, for the good of the team but you need to break him down IN FRONT of the team first.

Then again, it all remains to be seen what happens. I'm guessing Albert will come in, keep him mouth shut to the press and do what he's told. I would be slightly surprised if he becomes a distraction, at least initially.
 

Hog Fever

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I agree with Jimbo here.

Yes, Shanahan will have to be willing to let the guy in the building, let him practice and play but he cannot let him become a distraction. If Albert disrupts the team in any way Mike has to have the green light to bring the hammer down and do whatever is needed.

I think if a trade was in the cards it would have happened by now. If he held out of camp he’d be looking at probably having to pay back at least part the 21 million the team paid him, so that’s not likely either. No, I think he’ll come in and play nice, at least for now. I think if it were up to him he would just sit out, but I think someone, his lawyer or agent, got to him and told him that if he wanted to keep the second part of his bonus he’d have to at least show up.

We cannot let this situation define the season. There is too much else on the line to let this screw things up.
 

Bulldog

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Haynesworth: No Trade and No Nose Tackle?

Was all the offseason talk from Shanahan and Haslett about playing Haynesworth at NT simply a bluff, simply a way of saying to AH and any other players on the roster that the staff would position any of them for the potential benefit of the team regardless of their prior coddling by Snyder and Cerrato?

As training camp approaches I am beginning to look at this in a different light. I really did think Haynesworth was done here and his coming to camp in shape was only going to be a tool to facilitate a trade.

With Kemoeatu's progress at rehab, however, as reported by Jason Reid there is now a scenario (perhaps not unanticipated by the team) where Haynesworth comes in and plays DE in the base 3-4 with a smattering of 4-3 thrown in on occasion to keep him invested and opponents off balance.

Adam Carriker can also move inside from DE to provide added depth with Howard Green at NT and keep Kemoeatu's play count at a manageable level to start the season where necessary.

If this scenario does come to pass, the Redskins will end up with a DE who is in shape and happy to be out of playing the NT position.

At the same time, Shanahan and the Redskins have made a point that there are no sacred cows on the roster and the bottom line is not necessarily all about likes and dislikes but wins :)
 

Elephant

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Good point BD. Some of us are assuming they are automatically going to force Big Al to play the NT position when DE in this scheme and the 4-3 scheme are options for him as well. And that is a scary proposition for opposing offenses if Kemoeatu or Carriker are eating up the double team.

But it also sheds light on the Haynseworth position in the 1st place. If this young man had simply sat down with the coaching staff to discuss their plans, he would have known what their intentions were. He did not even take the time to do that. I still say this falls on Al. His petulance has created this situation, not the coaching staff.
 

fansince62

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Mike Wise can always be counted on for the financial equivalent of *enis envy.

he's an idiot.
 

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