Playing in Greg Blache’s 4-3 scheme might not have been so bad after all for Albert Haynesworth.
Because the prize of the free agent market from a year ago has made it quite clear now that he has no desire to be a nose tackle in the 3-4 scheme the Washington Redskins are transitioning to with Mike Shanahan and Jim Haslett in charge.
Haynesworth loudly let it be known near the end of last season that he felt stunted in the defense Blache preferred, and was not allowed to be a playmaker like he was in Tennessee. Well, playing nose tackle in a 3-4 will make life a whole lot more challenging for Haynesworth, and he’s candid that he isn’t the man for the job. Haynesworth appeared on Sirius NFL Radio today with hosts Adam Schein and Rich Gannon with the transcription done by Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post, and it got to the point that the hosts asked Haynesworth if he’s asked for a trade out of D.C.
"I haven't really had a whole lot of conversations about it to them," Haynesworth said of the new coaching staff. "I don't know, I guess whatever. I don't know what I'm supposed to do or to say. I'm under contract there, so there's nothing I can really say about it. You look at all the nose tackles in the NFL, they're all the same type guys. Like me, I'm 6-6, 330, 340 pounds, whatever. Most of those guys are short, stubbier, pretty much stump-type guys. I don't think I'm built to be a nose tackle, to be honest."
Haynesworth likened playing end in a 3-4 scheme to being a tackle in a 4-3 scheme but that’s really not the case. The end in a 3-4 is going to be asked to hold up an awful lot of blocks. If Haynesworth was unhappy last season, look, he’s setting himself up in March to be an unhappy camper once again.
"I mean, I wouldn't really say that (I’m setting myself up to be a distraction)," Haynesworth said. "We've got a good coach and all that stuff. Whatever they ask me to do, that's what I'm gonna do. I'm not gonna be a distraction or anything. I'm just gonna do what they ask me to do."
Then, he was asked about the idea of requesting a trade?
"Nah, I haven't done anything like that," Haynesworth said. "Hopefully they put me at end and that's where I play at. End in 3-4 is the same thing as a defensive tackle in the 4-3, I believe."
Haynesworth also informed Shanahan that he intends to work out on his own this offseason and thus not volunteer for the voluntary offseason workout program, which began last week. Haynesworth said he’s always had his best seasons after working out with his own trainer, but this comes at a time when the Redskins are basically demanding their players participate.
"Talking to (Shanahan), it was great,” Haynesworth said. “And he said, `Well, I don’t really agree with it, but I respect you for telling me.’ I know my body and the condition that I had the last years with the Titans, and as long as I can get back to that, you could put a high school coach around me and it's not even gonna matter because I'm gonna be playing my best ball.
“So I'm not really concerned with (perceptions). All I'm concerned about is getting back to that great shape. I feel like I was in ok shape last year but didn't dominate or didn't play like I wanted to, so now I plan on getting back to where I was, so I can dominate."
A naysayer might suggest that Haynesworth is doing his best to get things his way. Whether that lines up with what the team is seeking in the long run, we’ll see.
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