Can you imagine how this Albert Haynesworth situation would have gone down if Jim Zorn was still the head coach of the Washington Redskins?
Without any fear of retribution, Haynesworth would have arrived to camp out of shape. He probably would have been 40 pounds heavier, not lighter. Earning a spot in the starting lineup would have been easy.
Haynesworth would have had two simple options. First, to go straight to the owner. Dan Snyder would have surely smoothed things over with the coaching staff for his hundred million dollar man. Or Haynesworth could have simply requested a closed door meeting with Zorn. It worked for Antwaan Randle El the day after he was supposedly losing his job as punt returner. Because the last thing we needed was a receiver with some hurt feelings.
Everything seems different though under Mike Shanahan. Haynesworth won't be able to practice with the Redskins until he passes his conditioning test. And even after he passes it, he won't be playing with the first team right away.
You need a bathroom break, Al? Well then you can start over. Oh, you failed the test, Al? You can take it again tomorrow. And if you fail it again tomorrow, you can take it again on Saturday.
Where does defensive coordinator Jim Haslett fit in all of this? I see him as the good cop to Shanahan's bad cop. Shanahan is doing and saying all the right things to try to light a fire under Albert Haynesworth. In the mean time, Haslett is working with Haynesworth individually after practice to help teach technique and gap assignments for the 3-4 scheme. This is the biggest indication we've seen so far in 2010 that the Redskins really do want Haynesworth on the team.
Coach Shanahan says that if Haynesworth couldn't have even passed the test during his Pro Bowl years, then he has "never been in shape." So then it stands to reason that if Haynesworth does manage to pass the conditioning test in the next few days, then he'll be in the best shape of his life.
That's a scary thought for opposing NFC East offensive lines.
A mean and motivated Haynesworth is typically dominant for a few short periods of each game. A mean and motivated and fit Haynesworth could be dominant for an entire season.