Players in this league hardly want to take personal blame for anything, let alone their own lack of production after a big payday. Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who has had an average 2009 season after signing a massive contract this offseason, is now becoming one of those guys.
And I’m not buying it.
Haynesworth was sent home from practice yesterday because he was late to a team meeting. Yes, we have seen this before a few weeks back up in New England, where big-name players Randy Moss and Adalius Thomas were sent home for being late to the morning meeting.
Not a big story. Some coaches will go right to the fine system — end of discussion— while others will take it a step further, handing out the fine and sending the player home. That has become pretty standard practice in the NFL.
But, Haynesworth decided to spout off after the fact, using this incident as a direct route to throwing the coaching staff — more importantly, defensive coordinator Greg Blache — under the bus by using them as the scapegoat for his lackluster season in his semi-rant to Jason Reid of the Washington Post yesterday.
"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 said. "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. And I'm not talking about the players. The players have been great. I couldn't ask for any better guys. I'm talking about the system. And [the coaches] can say whatever they want about that [the reason he was sent home Friday]. The main thing it's coming from is what I said after the game about leadership and about the team."
Sounds like a guy who is upset with his performance, his production on Sundays and is trying to find a crutch that will put him in the brightest light possible.
I have played for Greg Blache, and he is a tough coach — but the best coaches at this level usually are. He demands accountability, and he demands that you work within the system to make the players around you develop and produce as a unit.
Sounds familiar, because that is no different than any defensive system at any level of football really. You are part of a system. Does Haynesworth think he would be better off in a 3-4 front, a 46 front or in the Tampa 2? He has two edge rushers on third downs in Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo who have 11 sacks apiece. He has a MLB in London Fletcher who has 126 tackles on the year. And, we don’t hear those guys complaining, because they are producing and they are making plays in that exact system that Haynesworth is now bashing.
Sure, I cannot get into that defensive film room with Blache and Haynesworth, and I know it is very easy to bash a system and a coaching staff that you know is only two weeks away from cleaning out their offices. But let’s all be honest when it comes to players who bash playbooks and coaches, because we have all experienced them in our football careers going back to high school ball.
It is always someone else’s fault, right?
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