Haynesworth’s gift to the Redskins defense
The rave reviews of Albert Haynesworth’s play in yesterday’s 17-14 win over Chicago are flowing in. He went so long without making a big impact that people are ecstatic.
“Yesterday he played some inspired football, very passionate,” linebacker London Fletcher said. “It would be like Christmas Day, so to speak, getting the gift that you’ve always wanted.”
Great quote, but let’s not get carried away. I’ll be doing backflips if I get a new set of golf clubs this year.
Fletcher is right, though. If Haynesworth can make even half of that impact in the coming weeks, he’ll make this defense much better. He showed yesterday that he can be a force in short yardage against the run and in the passing game–basically when he can attack the ball without making reads.
“It’s taken him just getting comfortable in what we’re doing and the scheme, the calls and things like that because it’s all new terminology that we’re doing this year,” Fletcher said. “I think he’s really starting to grasp that part of it, and that just allows him to play even faster and be more dominant. They’re allowing him to do some things that he’s best at doing.”
Coach Mike Shanahan today dissected the game film and declared Haynesworth’s performance his best since joining the team. He’s familiar with Haynesworth’s work last season because he broke down film of each game after getting the job.
“I liked what he did both in the pass rush and the running game,” Shanahan said. “He played hard. We expect that type of effort out of him. We know the type of ability he has.”
Shanahan lauded Haynesworth’s effort, citing his block of Chicago RT J’Marcus Webb behind the play on DeAngelo Hall’s 92-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“The first thing that I look for in anybody is somebody that plays 100 percent on every play,” he said.
The question now, though, is whether Haynesworth can play like this consistently. After all, Christmas comes only once a year.
“We expect it,” Fletcher said.