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Haynesworth content with simplified, specialized role

Albert Haynesworth is finally content with his role on the Washington Redskins’ defense. He’s OK with not starting as long as he doesn’t have to play the techniques required of the linemen that play in the team’s base 3-4 alignment.

“I’m not good enough to play the 3-4,” he said this morning. “We have a guy in front of me who can play the 3-4 better than I can. Whatever helps the team. But I do get to play the nickel and play well in that. That’s when you see me out there.”

Haynesworth met with Redskins beat reporters this morning for a rare interview. It is the first time in 2010 that he has spoken with us outside of a postgame locker room session.

He spoke at length about how defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has simplified his role. I wrote about that for Tuesday’s paper, and I’ll re-post that link here.

Haynesworth said that he asked Haslett early in the regular season to take him out of the base defense and use him exclusively on passing downs and short-yardage situations.

“It’s helped a lot,” he said. “I don’t have to think as much on the field. I can just go out and play.”

Haynesworth tried to put the adjustment to the 3-4 defense in terms media could understand. Moving from a 3-technique in a 4-3 to a nose tackle in a 3-4 would be like a print reporter trying to write a novel.

“It’s still writing,” he said, “but it’s not something you’re used to doing.”

Haynesworth has said that his goal upon joining the Redskins was to become the most dominant defensive lineman in NFL history. He wouldn’t rule out the possibility in this scheme, especially now that his talents are being exploited.

“It would have been hard to bcome great in a 3-4 because I’ve never played it,” he said. “Its like going from crawling to being an All-Pro in a 3-4. It’s not impossible, but it’s extremely hard.”

As for his relationship with coach Mike Shanahan, he downplayed any perceived tension.

“Everything’s been fine,” he said. “I laugh and talk to him about it, all the stuff that [media] speculate because I don’t ever say anything and he never really says anything. It’s just funny the stuff you all come up with. Everything’s been fine. We talk every other day or so.”

Things aren’t good enough at this point, however, for Haynesworth to envision himself back with the Redskins next season.

“I have no clue,” he said. “Right now if I just keep playing, I’ll be somewhere.”


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