As Redskin fans try to come together and unify, presumably so that they can commiserate with others, I thought I’d blog about one of the few bright spots of 2009 – Albert Haynesworth.
I know that it became a bit of a ‘comedy routine’ for some fans early on in the season, because sometimes Big Al just needs to stop where he is and have a little rest. He has been mocked accordingly for doing so.
I know that there are a lot of people out there in Redskin-land that think that the Redskins paid too much for the big defensive tackle, especially when he doesn’t play all of the defensive snaps.
What I don’t understand though, is how people don’t see what an incredible football player he is on the snaps that he does play. What I don’t understand, is how someone points to the fact that he has one sack, and deem him ‘a waste of money’ on that stat alone.
Are you kidding me?
Are you watching the games? And if so, are you watching the middle of the defensive line?
This guy is an absolute beast out there – an uncontrollable beast, that no one opposing player seems capable of stopping. As a matter of fact, there are an awful lot of plays that not even TWO guys can stop him. He looks like a man amongst boys out there.
It isn’t a coincidence that Andre Carter is having his best season ever as a Redskin. Carter is FINALLY getting inside help to make what he does on the corner, that much more noticeable. Carter spent most of 2008 in the backfield too, but with no inside push, quarterbacks would just step up into the pocket and avoid the pressure. AC was working his proverbial tail off, for what had to feel like nothing. I can’t even remember how many times Andre beat his man clean on the edge, only to find that the QB had all the room in the world to just step up and avoid the sack.
Can’t do that with Big Al around.
Can’t do much on the ground either with Big Al around; he sucks up everything in the middle.
It wouldn’t be fair to put London Fletcher’s success on Haynesworth, because the Redskin middle linebacker is, and always has been, a tackling machine. With 71 tackles, Fletcher currently leads all NFL players, and while it isn’t because of Haynesworth, it sure isn’t hurting any having him eat up so much attention. Hopefully it will be enough of a push to wrong the right of London having never been selected for the Pro Bowl. Fletcher and Haynesworth might be the only two Redskin selections in 2009*.
People even seem to get down on Big Al for the emotion that he has shown the last two weeks. Really? It isn’t refreshing to see a Redskin player that looks pissed? I think it is; and while sound bytes can often make something worse than it was intended, everything Haynesworth has said has been about the team and not himself:
“Urgency, heart, ‘want-to,’ whatever. I don’t know. We’re lacking a lot of stuff right now. So once we get to that point — where we ‘want to’ do something — then we’ll do something. But if we just keep going our separate ways, then we’ll just keep getting slaughtered like we have.”
Well it might stink to hear it, but what about that isn’t true?
Any statements that Haynesworth has made have been careful to use the word ‘we’ and don’t sound like anything more than bridled frustration. He’s playing his butt off out there, and there are too many teammates that aren’t.
I know that it is really easy to get bogged down in the tragedy of this Redskin season – but don’t let that cheat you of one solid positive – we have arguably the best inside defensive lineman in the league. In my opinion, Haynesworth is the best defensive tackle in the burgundy and gold since Dave Butz. He’s so good that not only can he change games single-handedly, but he changes every game; because he has to be ‘accounted for’ by the opposition; they try to double him, to run away from him – anything they can do to just take Big Al out of the game.
It usually doesn’t work anyway, and Haynesworth still finds ways to be effective.
In a bye week of a really tough season for Redskin fans, why not allow yourself the luxury of knowing that we aren’t going to lose this week, and that it would be a good time to try and think about something that is going well with the Washington Redskins.
Like Albert Haynesworth.
* – Obviously Chris Cooley is a worthy recipient unless his injury affects the balloting – and Andre Carter will be a solid candidate if he keeps playing like he is.
More By Mark Solway
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