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Posted at 4:37 PM ET, 12/ 9/2010

Haslett on Haynesworth: "Can you ever make the guy happy?"

By Barry Svrluga

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."

By Barry Svrluga  | December 9, 2010; 4:37 PM ET
Categories:  3-4 defense, Albert Haynesworth, Jim Haslett  
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Next: Dan Snyder says he supports Mike Shanahan's decision to suspend Albert Haynesworth


For reference, Jim, the correct answer is, 'that's behind us, let's move forward'

Posted by: mattsoundworld | December 9, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

good stuff from has, personal responsibility on behalf of the player...not enough of this kind of stuff going on today...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 9, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

These guys are going to toe this "nothing could make him happy" line, and I think they're right.

That's setting aside the dishonesty of taking that massive bonus this past offseason and promising to go along with a program when he had no intention of doing so.

F Albert Haynesworth.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | December 9, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree that although he could help the team when he decided to, he just didn't decide to often enough to make it worth the hassle.

On another note I found this article about Peyton Manning and IMHO if you didn't know who it was about you could think it was about McNabb and the Skins. It's not the whole article just a piece of it............

There are obviously a bevy of mitigating factors that play into his struggles, including the plague of injuries that have changed their cast of offensive playmakers, the team's shoddy offensive line play and its almost total lack of a running game threat.

"They're throwing the ball way too much, it's too hard when you're throwing as much as they're throwing. When you're a one-dimensional team, it's just too hard to succeed. You're too easy to defend. And you can't ask an offensive line to block 50-60 times a game against defenders who are faster. They're being forced to throw way too many times in every game, and he's overcompensating to try to make up for what they lack.''

"The running game has been called the quarterback's best friend, and he really doesn't have one to turn to,'' Jaworski said, taking a break from watching game film Wednesday at NFL Films. "He can't rely on his running game to take any of the pressure off. To me it's crystal clear that he's pressing.

There's nothing going on here that's really rocket science,'' Cosell said. "Has he made some bad throws? Absolutely. But my guess is, without having done the study, he's in more long-yardage situations than he's ever been in. We probably are trying to judge too much here, and taking that quick snapshot. If they had a better offensive line, a full complement of receivers, and a better running game -- and they don't need the Kansas City running game, just a semblance of one -- it might be a completely different story.

"His game might be a little frayed around the edges at this point. But it's probably just the perfect storm of factors that have highlighted his issues. Otherwise, we might not have even noticed anything at all.''

Posted by: renhoekk2 | December 9, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The key to making Albert happy is having the right defensive coordinator. Not sure who it'd be these days, but Fanny Fox and Blaze Starr woulda made him happy ... back in the day.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 9, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I could care less about Haynesworth. What I do care about is how people are giving Haslett a free pass. That guy has been fired NINE times. Hello?

Now that he's completely screwed up a perfectly good defense let's go ahead and make it an even TEN.

Posted by: jmueller7 | December 9, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I think Svrluga should get a shot running the blog. The best entries of late have come from him.

Posted by: WaitingGuilty | December 9, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I predict that after Haynesworth gets released, he'll never sign with another team. He'll get offers, but it'll be "It's not the right defense for me" or "The money's not what I'm used to". He's gonna live the rest of his life on this contract without ever earning a penny of it.

Posted by: unquiltom | December 9, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Haslett has been fired nine times? I call BS. He's held a total of 11 coaching positions (counting this one) in college and NFL and other leagues and some of those positions involve direction promotions (NO Saints LB coach in "95 than promoted to defensive coordinator in "96, Steelers Def. Coordinator in "97-99 and then hired to be NO head coach the next season. He was an interim coach with the Rams in 2008--not being given the head job is not being fired. In fact he had a clause in his contract giving him the head job that was invalidated b/c it violated the Rooney rule..

Posted by: JoeW1 | December 9, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I go way back with the Redskins and I have NEVER detested a Redskin like I detest Albert Haynesworth and it's not remotely close. IMO, the highlight of this season was the suspension of the jerk. Just watch, he'll live off this contract for the rest of his life and he'll lazy himself to 400 pounds or so in the process. Hail!

Posted by: croftonpost | December 9, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

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