Clinton Portis, has long history as a Redskin of bucking the team’s off season programs, instead, working out on his own at the Hurricane Alumni Social Club’s annual beer and work-out retreat, in south Fla.
This year, Clinton Portis has made sure that he has toed the line, and was involved in the in-house conditioning program at Redskins Park. Could it be that, having had experience with this coach in the past, he knows that Shanahan means what he says, and says what he means?
There is a significant body of people whom seem to feel that this is how Shanahan is getting even with Haynesworth, or that this is a technique to force his submission. Perhaps… but when you have a policy that was announced to all players before the start of the off-season programs, that all but one player complied with, and which is being enforced as it was announced it would be, that sounds like it’s just the management being consistent, and doing what it said it would do all along. Ray Wright, the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the team, briefly explained the policy on Friday .
Frankly, I think that this “poor Albert” crap is more about folks wanting to cut some slack to a known beast on the football field because they are afraid that he won’t make it through, otherwise. That is absolutely not the way to go. It may get Albert into practice sooner… but what will he have learned from it? How will that improve his cardiac conditioning? All it would do is reinforce all of his old behaviors… including dogging it when tired.
Shanahan has already made his statement. He is now simply doing what he said he would do in this circumstance. Would it have been the same were it Portis… or Fletcher… or Cooley? I think so.
The difference is… Portis, Fletcher, and Cooley believed him. Apparently, Haynesworth did not… or, perhaps, Haynesworth thought, as he has in the past, that he was still bigger than the team.
I don’t think that’s ever going to happen on Shanahan’s watch.
Don’t fret, though. I suspect that Shanahan has an “exit strategy” that will both help Albert through this AND make the Redskins a better team. Shanahan is not stupid… he knows that this defense, and this team, are better (much better) with Haynesworth on the field than not. There is some speculation in NFL circles that this is Shanahan’s Machiavelian plan to stir sympathy for Haynesworth among his team-mates as a means of mending the very public rift that developed between them and Albert during this off season. Really? I don’t know… but I suspect this is just Shanahan being Shanahan. On the other hand, there are rumors that team-mates plan to show up to run the test alongside Albert… and there have been sympathetic statements from many of them…
I think Shanahan just wants to make sure that when Haynesworth is on the field, that he doesn’t have to take plays off because he is winded. Who DOESN’T believe that was a problem last year? If you have doubts, watch the New Orleans game… but, if the relationship in the locker room is repaired in the process, well, that’s cool, too.
Hey, I could be wrong… but, when the results come in following the first Dallas game, I have a feeling that we will see a renewed… and totally dominant… Albert Haynesworth, destroying the opposing offenses game plans.