Albert Haynesworth finally decided to end his months-long absence from the Washington Redskins, and met with head coach Mike Shanahan Wednesday night. He quickly found out that no one on the team will be cutting him any slack as a $100 million player. Redskins fans hope that having Haynesworth on the team will swing NFL betting trends in their favor.
Shanahan told the defensive lineman that he will have to pass a conditioning test if he wants to practice. Additionally he will automatically be on the depth chart as a backup. The former Denver Broncos boss knows what it takes to win, having won two Super Bowls as a head coach and one as an assistant.
“I’m expecting him to be in great shape,” Shanahan said. “And if he’s not in great shape, then we’re going to do what we need to do to get him in shape.
The Redskins defense is expected to change from a 4-3 base to a 3-4 scheme that might hinder Haynesworth’s stats. Shanahan isn’t worried about anyone’s stats, and expects the two-time All Pro selection to commit to his philosophy. If he does, bettors should expect the Redskins’ NFL lines to become more favorable.
“Once he gets to that point, hopefully he’ll fit into our system and do the things we want him to do. Because, if he does, he can be an excellent football player for us. If not, we’re going to be very good anyhow,” Shanahan added.
When asked if he expects Haynesworth to shed the off-season controversy and become a part of the starting roster, Shanahan’s response was vague.
“All I can do is tell you we’re going to give him every opportunity to show us what we can do,” the coach said. “Hopefully he’ll like the position that we play him in and give us everything that he’s got.”
Haynesworth collected a $21 million bonus April 1 without having to report to a single off-season workout. His seven-year contract is now viewed by some as another mistake by Dan Snyder.
Some good news for Haynesworth is the fact that nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu has reported to camp healthy. That leaves Haynesworth the opportunity to play at his more natural position of defensive end when both players are on the field.
Not addressed by Shanahan were the several off-field incidents that have involved Haynesworth. The head coach hopes that getting into camp will help the defensive end focus on football. Shanahan did say that he was pleased with Albert’s attitude in their meeting Wednesday.
“The conversation went well,” Shanahan revealed, “and now we’ll get a chance to see exactly where we’re at in the near future.”
Those setting NFL odds have the Redskins among the underdogs to win Super Bowl XLV at +3500.