December 26, 2009

Haynesworth Portending Mutiny in Washington?

After being dismissed from practice on Friday by head-coach-for-now Jim Zorn, the Washington Redskins' biggest free agent acquisition, DT Albert Haynesworth, decided to vent a bit to the Washington Post. One quote was quite telling, with Haynesworth saying he couldn't "survive another season in this system if it stays the way it is."

That puts the Redskins in an interesting, if not difficult, situation. The Redskins are inches away from signing Mike Shanahan to a GM/player personnel role. That would almost certainly signal Zorn's departure, but two members of the defensive staff have generally been well regarded. Defensive coordinator Greg Blache would have been a strong candidate to replace Zorn if it weren't for his self-imposed media exile earlier this season. Secondary coach Jerry Gray served as Blache's mouthpiece, and actually has already interviewed for the coaching position.

Leaving aside whether Gray's interview was just intended to satisfy the Rooney Rule, Haynesworth's comments cast doubt on whether a Gray-coached team could include Blache. In Gray's limited public statements, it seems clear that he would not tolerate any public dissension or criticism of coaching decisions. Given Haynesworth's price tag, and more importantly signing bonus, cutting him is not a viable option.

In effect, Haynesworth might have done two highly damaging things to the Redskins. First, they have to time Zorn's firing so as to not appear to be catering to Haynesworth. Second, they probably cannot entertain giving Gray an "interim" tag for the final game as a one game audition.

Many observers thought the Haynesworth signing was unwise, given the team's deficiencies at offensive line. Many observers questioned his ability to stay on the field given his face stomp incident with the Titans. I don't think many saw him throwing his coaching staff under the bus with two games to play. It will be interesting to see if he sees the field against Dallas on Sunday.

4 Responses:

Sports Scatter said...

I really don't get why he is having such a problem. It can only be a character deficiency. Everyone knew at his signing he'd have to play a different role in a defense that is built much differently than his previous one. Hayneworth even spoke of adapting to the defense at his signing. Blache has even made some changes to take advantage of Hayneworth, though the Redskins have done just as well, if not better, with Gholston in there. Blache is as good as any coordinator in the league, so Haynesworth sounds like a selfish, ego-protecting player, at the expense of his coaches, and to just as great an extent, at the expense of his defensive teammates. He talks as if he believes a defense built around him will be more successful than one that is annually a top 10 defense, in spite of offensive time of possession and field position deficiencies. The reality is that while he is throwing everyone else under the bus, he is the one that is looking the part of a loser. It is too bad, because physically he has greatness, but the mentality he portrays is more keyshawn johnson/terrell owens.

The leadership he talks of needing would be one that starts by suspending him for a season. But, if the union gets its way in the offseason bargaining, that will not be viable. So he is an obstacle for the franchise for the next decade. Bad contract. But as you say, nothing unusual for Vinny, that was definitely his reputation in san francisco. Note to Snyder: next time you spend $100million on a player, he better be a peyton manning, darrell green, or donnovan mcnabb type...not a vick, d. sanders, k. johnson, owens, hall, r. moss, little, or haynesworth type.

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