The rebuilding efforts in Washington are underway, as the new additions to the Redskins join the team during the start of training camp. Missing from the roster is last season’s key acquisition, Albert Haynesworth. A swollen knee has the Washington Redskins highly priced defenseman on the sideline, watching the 3-4 defense he was so opposed to playing in. The Redskins defensive tackle can only watch, prohibited from practice, because of his failure to pass the teams conditioning test. Haynesworth could of avoided the test, if he participated in the teams off-season conditioning program, but the unhappy defender was busy demanding a trade during that time.
To date, Haynesworth career in Washington, has been as difficult as George W. Bush’s. Given a large free agent contract, Haynesworth presence was supposed to improve the Redskins defense. His first season in a Redskins uniform, Haynesworth suited up for 12 games, made 29 tackles, and had 4 sacks.
After a disappointing first season, Haynesworth spent the off-season making his displeasure of playing in a 3-4 defense known. Initially requesting a trade, Haynesworth gave in, agreeing to stay in Washington when it became clear the team would not trade him. In Washington for the forcible future, Haynesworth’s NFL career is now in the hands of new coach Mike Shanahan, and the 3-4 defense.
With the addition of new QB, Donovan McNabb, and new coach, Mike Shanahan, Washington hopes to return winning to the historical franchise. While there are many issues the Redskins must address, the offensive line, weak receiving corp, and making the change to a 3-4 defense, the team was improved, at least on paper, during the off-season. Now, with the start of training camp, it’s time to put the pieces together, and form a team.
At some point, Albert Haynesworth will find his way back on the field, where he’ll line up in the 3-4, and it’ll be up to him how hard he tries. In a division with, the Dallas Cowboys, and New York Giants, the Redskins defense will need him to be at his best. If Haynesworth struggles in the new system, will he be a season long distraction? Will Shanahan, and the Washington Redskins coaching staff be able to keep their defensive star on the field, and productive?
Time will tell how the switch to the 3-4 worked, and whether Haynesworth was a contributor or, detractor. What’s clear now, is who’s in charge in Washington, and that man, is coach Mike Shanahan. Since Dan Snyder’s owned the Redskins, only former coach, Joe Gibb lasted more then one season. With the selection of Shanahan, Snyder may have finally given the job to the right man.