Players prefer focusing on Cowboys, not Haynesworth
Don't think that players can avoid trade rumors. Tuesday is a day off for most Redskins players, but there's no escaping news reports that suggest the Redskins have engaged the Tennessee Titans in trade talks for defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.
This is a locker room that dealt with a new distraction every week last season. And Week 1 of this season already has a talking point that will overshadow Sunday's game for some.
"It's very distracting, but we try not to let it get to us," linebacker Brian Orakpo said Tuesday afternoon. "Because we're tired of talking about it, Albert's tired of talking about it, [Mike] Shanahan's tired of talking about it. Everybody is. We want to move on to be a normal team in this league and not worry about individualism. ...We got a big game coming up and we can't be worrying about No. 92 right now and all this speculation."
"I don't care about all of that. I just worry [about] the Redskins right now. That's all we can worry about. There's always speculation about everything. I could be on the trading block, you never know. That's just the name of the game."
Orakpo probably is not on the trading block, for the record. But his point is a good one. And his comments speak to the importance of finding a resolution to this situation quickly. Otherwise, the drama will hang over not just this week's season-opener against Dallas -- but the entire season.
Orakpo and fellow linebacker H.B. Blades appeared at a comminuty event Tuesday at Powell Elementary School, where Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty proclaimed this week "Beat Dallas Week." Following Fenty's speech, Orakpo and Blades helped pass out school supplies to students. And following that, both linebackers said Haynesworth is an important part of the defense, striking a chord similar to the one quarterback Donovan McNabb struck earlier in the day.
"I think he can still help us -- that's if he wants to," said Blades. "That's a decision that the organization has to make. Albert's a great player. ... at the same time, Coach Shanahan and Mr. [Bruce] Allen, they're going to do what's best for the organization. Whatever it is, we're all for it."
Said Orakpo: "Right now, we're happy with Albert as far as him being here, putting everything in the past, and ready to roll.
"You can't go on the past. Like I said, we have a sutaution where we sat down and moved on. We're trying to move on as a team, as a whole and as a defense," Orakpo said. "And every time he's out there with our group, he's a main factor out there for offenses to double-team, triple-team. At the same time, he still makes plays for us. I'm excited when he's out there, regardless of what the media thinks of him.
Linebackers like Orakpo stand to benefit the most by Haynesworth's strong presence up-front. If Haynesworth buys into the system and plays the correct role in the Jim Haslett's 3-4 defensive scheme, Orakpo should be freed up to chase the quarterback.
"All I've got to do is get after the quarterback and hold my edges. Having those big bodies, sacrificing their bodies, they obviously know they're probably not going to make a ton of plays," Orakpo said. "But they're doing a lot for our defense, stopping those run gaps, taking those double-teams for us and leaving me and Andre [Carter] and the rest of the gang who are on the edges to make those big-time plays and sacks."
September 7, 2010; 5:07 PM ET
Categories: 3-4 defense , Albert Haynesworth , Brian Orakpo
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