Biggs: Haynesworth criticizes coaching staff
An angry Albert Haynesworth lashed out at the Washington Redskins coaching staff after he was sent home from practice on Friday.
Haynesworth, who was told to go home by coach Jim Zorn after he reported late for a meeting, complained about defensive coordinator Greg Blache in a phone interview with the Washington Post.
"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 told the Washington Post. "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."
Haynesworth pulled down the richest free-agent contract in NFL history when he scored a deal that included $41 million guaranteed. He’s due a $21 million roster bonus in three months. He’s missed three games lately with an ankle injury, and was routinely given time off during the summer for a chronic knee condition. Scouts have said Haynesworth remains dominant—when he wants to play, noting that he has a habit of taking plays off. He’s got 35 tackles and four sacks, and the defense is ranked eighth in the league.
The Redskins have finished in the top 10 in defense four seasons under Blache, and rookie outside linebacker Brian Orakpo has flourished under him. Haynesworth seems to believe the system was going to be molded around him more, or he was going to be given more ability to freelance.
"What (team officials) told me in the early hours of February (27) is that, 'We're going to let you play,' " Haynesworth said. "We're going to change the scheme up, make it around you. We want you to do what you do. They might have changed a little bit (but) they don't let me rush. They call what Blache calls 'Hot,' a basic pass rush, maybe a few times a game. And half the time that's changed because of some formation. I disagree with their whole scheme."
Zorn said that Haynesworth would be welcomed back to practice today, and he would play Sunday night against Dallas. The Redskins ushered in Bruce Allen last week before their appearance on “Monday Night Football” and were promptly embarrassed by the rival Giants 45-12. This episode will only be more fodder for critics heading into their game on NBC.
Blache was well-liked by players when he ran the defense in Chicago from 1999 to 2003, and the system flourished with big-body tackles Ted Washington and Keith Traylor. Washington went to the Pro Bowl under Blache. But Haynesworth has more athletic ability than those former players, and he’s clashing with a coach with 22 years experience and a proven track record.
"What made me do this [criticize the team's leadership and defensive scheme after the last game] is . . . he tells me, 'Get out of my face,' " Haynesworth told the Washington Post of what sparked his blowup. "When I go up to him in the game it's like, 'Hey, we need to do this because this will help.' He tells me, 'Get out of my face. Go sit down. Go sit down.' Like I'm a kid or something like that. That's when I said what I said after the game. That's what made me respond the way that I did."
There was a report that Blache has interviewed to replace Zorn as head coach, and he’s denied that to sources. Blache hasn’t spoken with media in nearly three months, and there is some speculation that he will retire at the end of the season. But the report of his interview is believable from the standpoint that he is respected by owner Daniel Snyder. If Blache remains in 2010, it will be interesting to see how the situation unfolds. Stay tuned.
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