Haslett on Haynesworth: "Can you ever make the guy happy?"
Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan declined Thursday to say whether the team would attempt to recoup some of the $21 million in bonus money it paid to suspended defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth in April.
"I'm not exactly sure at this time exactly what we're going to do or what direction we're going to go," Shanahan said. "We just concentrate on the next game at hand, and that'll all take care of itself in time."
The players and coaches, though, are moving on. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said both Kedric Golston and Anthony Bryant would see time in the spots where Haynesworth would have played Sunday against Tampa Bay - essentially in third-and-long situations..
"Everything else is status quo," Haslett said. "We're going to use a number of different combinations on third down. That's really all he played."
Haslett, the coach who initially convinced Haynesworth that a switch to a 3-4 base defense could work for him, detailed the suspension from his standpoint. Haslett both echoed and elaborated themes Shanahan had touched on both Tuesday, in a written statement that announced the release, and Wednesday when he met with the media.
"I don't think I've ever had a player just tell me he didn't want to play "Okie" defense [the base 3-4] and then later say he didn't want to play nickel versus the run, 'Just play me on third downs,'" Haslett said. "No, I've never had that before. And we tried to accommodate him. It's a shame because he's athletic enough. He can do almost anything he wants. Obviously, he didn't want to do it. Good athletes can do a lot of different things. Basketball players -- guards can play forwards, they can play different positions. I watch throughout the league, I see wide receivers do the 'Wildcat.' I think to myself, 'If you're a good enough athlete, you can do almost anything you want. You've just got to want to do it.'"
Haslett said he was not directly involved in Shanahan's decision to suspend Haynesworth, but he did have significant input in the decision to bench him for last Sunday's game against the New York Giants.
"You always want to use good players, but they've got to be willing to do what you want them to do," Haslett said. "Obviously, if the guy's not willing to do what you want them to do and you're the head coach, and the guy doesn't practice well on Thursday -- about as poor as I've ever seen -- and then Friday, a so-called illness that he doesn't practice. Then, if I'm the head coach on Saturday, getting ready for Sunday, you've got to make a decision: What's best for the football club?
"I think Mike made the right decision to make him inactive, based off what he saw. We know over the years, based off what we saw last year in film, when he doesn't practice well or he doesn't show up for Christmas -- or whatever the situation is -- then he doesn't play well."
Haslett was asked whether the resolution with Haynesworth made him regret, at all, that the Redskins switched to a 3-4 this season. But Haslett quickly pointed out that, while playing in the 4-3 a year ago under then-coordinator Greg Blache, Haynesworth also chafed.
" I saw a guy who just got a $100 million play bad as a three-technique," Haslett said. "Then ... a defensive coordinator left, I saw a guy who blasted him, saying, 'Well, I didn't like the defense. I didn't like the 4-3. I didn't like the way I was used.' So can you ever make the guy happy? I don't know. What do you want? ...
"There's things in life you just don't want to do, when you're growing up. But you've got to do it. My father told me, 'There's things in the world that you're not going to want to do, but if you want to get ahead in the world, you're going to have to do it.' Well, I think we're at that point. Not everybody in the National Football League is going to let Albert just do what he wants on the field. It doesn't work that way. So wherever he goes or stays here or wherever, it's going to be under the same constraints. I mean, he wasn't happy this year with the 3-4. He wasn't happy last year with the 4-3. What else do you want to do? Want to run a 2-5?"
Haslett said he hasn't spoken with Haynesworth since the suspension, and that he didn't think it was appropriate for him to do so. But in his mind, Shanahan's decision was rather simple.
"The reality is this: Thursday he had a bad practice, Friday he didn't practice and he was inactive for the game," Haslett said. "Whatever all the stuff that built up over the last six months, Coach Shanahan decided enough was enough. Do I still like Albert? Yeah, I like Albert. I think he's a talented football player. I really like the guy. But sooner or later, he's going to have to understand. He's going to have to grow up and understand what's going on."
| December 9, 2010; 4:37 PM ET
Categories: 3-4 defense, Albert Haynesworth, Jim Haslett
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