The Redskins continued their season of turmoil Friday when All-Pro defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was sent home for being 20 minutes late to a team meeting. Haynesworth had been critical of the Redskins' defensive scheme and the overall leadership of the team following Monday night's blowout loss to the Giants. He was also fined $10,000 for an altercation with Giants running back Brandon Jacobs late in that game.
Reached at home by The Washington Post on Friday, Haynesworth took his criticism to another level. He insinuated that he couldn't continue to function in defensive coordinator Greg Blache's system.
"If they keep this system the way it is, then they would label Albert Haynesworth a bust who didn't live up to the contract," Haynesworth told the Post. "Everybody would say he just took the money and ran off. And I'm still playing as hard as I possibly can. But you can only do so much within the system that's put around you."
Even in some of my early conversations with Haynesworth during training camp, he admitted to having a difficult time adjusting to a new scheme. But even while the Redskins continued to lose in the first half of the season, Haynesworth was given credit for the increased sack totals of his teammates. Over the past month, Haynesworth has missed games because of an ankle injury and the defense was actually less effective Monday night upon his return to the lineup.
Haynesworth attributed his being sent home Friday to his comments following the Skins' loss to the Giants and said that other players had committed worse violations and remained at practice. His main message, though, was that Blache's scheme wasn't allowing him to be successful.
"They might have changed [the defense] a little bit [but] they don't let me rush," Haynesworth told the Post. "They call what Blache calls 'Hot,' a basic pass rush, maybe a few times a game. And half the time that's changed because of some formation. I disagree with their whole scheme."
The tricky thing here is that you have a lame-duck coaching staff led by Jim Zorn. Blache is likely going to retire at the end of the season. Zorn is powerless in this situation, just as he's been since his play-calling duties were stripped early in the season. New general manager Bruce Allen must step in and make a decision.
Does he want to see Haynesworth play in this scheme for two more games or would it be better to simply make him inactive and blame it on the ankle injury? I don't think you have a ton to gain either way, but my guess is that Haynesworth will be on the field against the Cowboys on Sunday night.
Haynesworth should realize that he's about to be playing for another regime. There's really no point in causing a huge stir when your team is sitting on a 4-10 record. The changes Haynesworth's obviously hoping for were put in motion months ago. There's nothing to accomplish by going after Zorn and Blache at this point -- other than causing further embarrassment to the franchise.