After a morning of charity and jackets and balloons and haircuts and personal abuse, it’s time to return yet again to the dreary, never-ending topic of Albert Haynesworth.
During his Monday press conference, Mike Shanahan repeatedly said that he’d discuss the Haynesworth situation on Wednesday after he’d had a chance to talk to Haynesworth himself. In the 48 hours since, Haynesworth has been suspended without pay for conduct detrimental to the club, and the conversation between the two men never materialized.
So when Shanahan stuck to his promise and talked about Haynesworth today, the first thing he addressed was that non-conversation.
“I was gonna share the conversation Albert and I had,” a cheerful-seeming Shanahan said, “but since he wouldn’t talk to me I couldn’t share that conversation with you guys. That was a little tough.”
Shanahan’s mood appeared to remain upbeat even as he ran through a brief overview of The Entire History Of The Albert Thing: “When he first came in, we talked about a 4-3 defense; he didn’t like the 4-3 defense a year ago,” Shanahan explained. “Didn’t like the base defense, didn’t like the nickel defense. Came here, didn’t wanna play nose tackle, didn’t wanna play defensive end. We got him playing the nickel package first and second and third down; didn’t like first and second down nickel, wanted to play nickel in passing situations. It was just time to go another direction. Never quite been through situation like this before. We did it in the best interests of our football team; now we go on.”
Before we could go on, though, there were a few more Haynesworth-related questions to be answered.
There was, for example, the question of if he had ever considered making this move earlier in the season.
“You really don’t know what’s gonna happen,” Shanahan said. “All you try to do is do what you think’s in the best interests of your football team and the organization. I know he’s a very talented athlete; my goal was to get him to play at full speed, get him to play as hard as he could possibly play, get him in excellent football shape — one of the reasons why I didn’t think he was very consistent the year before is that I didn’t think he was in shape, because he kept on going down throughout the season — so there’s a lot of factors. And I really had a pretty good relationship with him. It was never argumentative; pretty good for the most part. Lot of drama, obviously, with all the press coverage.”
The coach still sounded cheerful as he added, “But, y’know, when someone dictates when they’ll go in, when they won’t go in … that just was a little bit too much.”
Until recently, Shanahan believed that the situation could be salvaged without the need to suspend anyone. “Obviously, or you would’ve done it before,” Shanahan said. “You keep on wishing and hoping and all of a sudden you come to a decision based on a few things that occurred — which I’m not gonna go into — and you finally make that decision, and we made it.”
And there was also the question — the seemingly eternal question — as to the level of owner Dan Snyder’s involvement in the decision. Or, perhaps, the owner’s complete LACK of involvement in the decision, as Shanahan said that Snyder offered no input. “No, he didn’t,” Shanahan said. “Dan’s been great to me. I haven’t even discussed the situation with Dan.”
And, in response to a later follow-up, the coach added, “I’ll be honest with you: Dan has been completely supportive since I’ve been here,” Shanahan said, “and he’s gonna give me every chance to do things the right way, build this thing — this organization — the right way, and I think him for doing it. There’s gonna be some growing pains, there’s gonna be some mistakes that we make along the way, but we’ll make ‘em full speed ahead and hopefully make enough of the right decisions to get this organization back to where it’s been.”
If you’re the sort of crazy person who actually remembers that, you know, there’s a GAME this weekend, you might be interested to know that Carlos Rogers and LaRon Landry went through walkthroughs but did not practice, and that Trent Williams and Ryan Torain both practiced.
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