Training Camp opens tomorrow, of course — Print your invitation! Bring school supplies! –but for the media, the 2010 season pretty much started today, with a luncheon that provided an opportunity to chat with the assistant coaches and have a Q&A with head coach Mike Shanahan.
That’s defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, along with (l-r) Les Carpenter of Yahoo! Sports, Doc Walker of ESPN980, and Don Banks of SI.com.
Haslett was pleased to finally get to the actual start of training camp: “We’ve been working the whole summer and guys have made a great transition into the defense. So I’m excited about putting the pads on and just carrying on. I think we could go out there right now and just run our stuff that we’ve been running.”
He also brought the assembled media up to speed on his interactions with Albert Haynesworth. “I met with him about ten minutes three months ago, and about an hour and a half this week, today. So that’s about it.”
Well, not exactly “it”.
Haslett also described how today’s meeting went:
“It was good,” he said. “He knows he’s behind, we’ve gotta get him caught up, and I think he understands what we’re looking for. We talked the last three or four weeks, been texting each other, so I think everything’s gonna be all right.”
And what his relationship with Haynesworth was like when he first arrived:
“We really didn’t have one then,” Haslett said flatly. “Let me go back: I’m gonna defer all this stuff to Coach Shanahan, but until I see him here playing, participating, then I can comment more, but I really can’t tell you much [besides] what I’ve seen on film: he’s a good athlete, he’s a good football players, and hopefully he’ll buy into what we’re doing and help us win some games.”
And what he expects to happen when Haynesworth experiences the new Redskins defense:
“Players get into a comfort zone sometimes,” he said, “and he’s been playing in the same scheme for a long time, but this is something different. It’s something new. And I think once he gets into it, once he sees what we’re doing, I think he’s gonna like it. I think he’ll flourish in it, ’cause he’s an athletic kid, and we can put him into spots where he can use his athleticism. So I think he’s gonna be good at it, but obviously he’s gotta be willing to do it.”
AND if he thinks Haynesworth’s teammates will welcome him back:
“I’ll give you the ex-player’s perspective: players just want guys to come in and be part of the team, and then obviously work hard and win games. And if he comes in and does that, I think everything’ll be fine.”
And, finally, how he thought Haynesworth looked today:
“I’ll say this” he said, chuckling, “someone said to me he lost forty pounds, I said, ‘From what?’”
Other than all of that, that first thing was “about it”.
Ryan O’Halloran of CSNWashington.com interviews tight ends coach Jon Embree.
Ivan Carter of Comcast SportsNet and special teams coach Danny Smith. Smith had one major message today. See if you can pick it up from this quote:
“We’ve changed a lot of players,” he said. “We’ve changed a lot of coaches over the year. So it’s all about getting on the same page, and he’s done a great job of that. I mean, we’re all on the same page, I can tell you that. Ain’t nobody gettin’ out of that [dang] meeting without being on the same page with Mike Shanahan.”
He went on to say “on the same page” at least four more times. I think they’re all on the same page.
Washington Post’s Jason Reid and wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell.
Not pictured is offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, but he also said a few things worth noting:
On Clinton Portis:
“From what I’ve seen of Clinton, he’s been as good of a leader, as good of an example as any player that I’ve been around so far. If it continues I think we’ll have real good things from him this year.”
On what’s most important to accomplish now:
“The continuity of all eleven players on the field. You’ve got a bunch of different guys who are doing stuff that’s new to ‘em. They’ve had experience in OTAs, but now they’ve had about three and a half weeks away from us. It’s getting everybody back here, getting everyone on the same page. You’ve got a bunch of talented guys, but we’ve gotta get them to play collectively and as a whole and it takes time.”
On his offensive system:
“I keep getting asked about my system. I really don’t know what my system is. It’s whatever the weakness in the defense is. The one thing I can say that our offense is gonna do is we’re gonna attack. We’re gonna attack you, we’re gonna attack you aggressively, whether we’re running the ball, throwing the ball, it doesn’t matter. We’re gonna be aggressive and we’re gonna attack whatever the weakness is.”
On how he refers to his father, head coach
It is a little awkward. I try not to say ‘Dad’ too much, but it’s even more awkward for me to call him Mike. So I really just call him Coach; ‘Dad”ll slip out here or there, but I try to avoid it.”
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