If Albert Haynesworth is the worst team player in town, who are some of the Best Team Players?
Editor's Note: Ken Meringolo does a D.C. Power Rankings piece every week called "D.C. Rank and File." You can view previous edition here.
Albert Haynesworth is killing me. I had five other possible lists that I could have done this week, but when news started making its way up here that he was iffy for Wednesday's mandatory session I was simply enraged. Then he releases a statement that he is not going to come at all and he wants to be traded?
I have a hard time conceiving of another individual with such a perfect blend of ignorance, fatness and apathy, mixed with a complete disconnect from the world around him (Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin don't count). How do you justify not reporting to work after cashing a $21 million check? I feel like Ron Burgundy in Anchorman when the dog told him he had just eaten a whole wheel of cheese and pooped in the refrigerator. I am simply amazed. Except in this analogy, the wheel of cheese represents the hearts and minds of his teammates and the refrigerator represents my face. Thanks, Albert.
Top 5 Ways The Redskins Should Handle the Haynesworth Debacle
1) Make Albert walk down Main Street in Detroit and Flint, Mich., so he can look into the eyes of all the hard-working folks who just want the chance to work but can't because of the flailing auto industry
2) When he finally shows up, put him on kickoff and punt coverage.
3) Replace his mouthguard with a pacifier
4) Sign him to an extension worth $200 million and promise him he can call plays on offense and defense.
5) Absolutely nothing ... just keep letting Haynesworth and his agent mastermind what has turned into one of the dumbest PR campaigns ever. How do they expect anyone to take them seriously from this point forward? These two make BP's CEO look like a genius. Does anyone think Haynesworth is in any kind of shape to play football right now? Thanks to the magic of SB Nation DC, I am able to translate Haynesworth's latest statement:
"Due to the fact that I am a whiny b****, I am going to stay home for the summer and continue my pursuit of morbid obesity. To all of my teammates, I don't care about you or your hard work and I certainly don't care that you are busting your humps to get ready for the upcoming season. If I am physically able to do more than complain and deny paternity claims made by strippers, I might show up to camp later this summer. But don't expect too much from me since I am going to be asked to take on multiple blockers in order to free up other players along the line to make plays--as opposed to last year when I was asked to take on multiple blockers in order to free up other players along the line to make plays."
I could drop a Top 5 list of things I would do for $21 million, but SB Nation would not print it.
So Albert is a horrific team player. Enough of him ... what about the guys in town that are great team players? This week's list does take a higher-profile view of the "team player" concept. It just so happens we have at least a handful of players in D.C. that are both productive as well as good team guys. Here are the players I think of when I think "Team Player."
No. 1: Nicklas Backstrom
All he has done in his three seasons playing for the Capitals is increase his goals, assists and +/- totals each year. He doesn't complain about playing time, and he always seems to be giving maximum effort -- even if it looks so effortless. His teammates respect him, his opponents respect him and hockey fans know him to be one of the key cogs to the Capitals' success.
No. 2: Ryan Zimmerman
The reigning Gold Glove winner is a quiet, unassuming presence on the up-and-coming Nationals. He is the face of the franchise and one of the rising stars in the Major Leagues. In baseball, it is hard to really pinpoint what makes a good "team player", but with Zimmerman, you get wisdom beyond his years and maturity beyond his peers.
No. 3: London Fletcher
The man who has been at or near the top in tackles in the NFL over the last decade anchors the Washington defense and leads the entire team by example. He was one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2009 and stands as a very tangible opposite to the me-first attitude of players like Haynesworth.
No. 4: Alexander Ovechkin
So I am 2-for-2 on including Alexander Ovechkin in these lists. But look at what he brings to the table. He is the best player on the team and at times it seems like nobody is playing with more energy and passion than the Big O. Since putting the "C" on his chest, Ovechkin has embraced the leadership that is expected of the captain. His teammates look to him to pick them up when they need it, and they are seldom let down.
No. 5: Lorenzo Alexander
I left this spot for a lesser profile player who embodies what it really means to be a team guy. Lorenzo does whatever coaches ask and that has included stints at defensive line, offensive guard, tight end and linebacker. You never hear him complain about what scheme the team is running and how that affects his ability to perform. Instead, he adapts his game to better suit the team. What a novel concept!
The absence of any Wizards in this week's ranking should come as no surprise. Here's hoping John Wall cares more about making his team and teammates better than anything else. This list was hard to make because there are so many middle- and lower-tier players on our favorite teams that are deserving of being on this list. With that in mind, stay tuned to next week's rankings, as I figure out a way to shine a light on those players.