If you’re a Cowboys fan, you’ve probably spent a good deal of this preseason observing the Redskins’ Albert Haynesworth drama from afar, no doubt with a healthy amount of amusement. But now Week One is upon us, and that drama is about to pay handsome dividends for the Double J and his Super Bowl hopefuls. Despite the fact that Haynesworth finally passed Mike Shanahan’s conditioning test and played virtually all of Washington’s fourth preseason game, WaPo reporter Jason Reid says the team will likely bench the $100 million man for the opener against Dallas:
Two team sources said Haynesworth probably would have had a key role, even if he did not start, against the Cowboys this week if he had fared well in the preseason finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Haynesworth's play was described as "awful" by the sources, who said it wasn't as much a matter of blown assignments (Haynesworth did not have many) as his lack of effort and failure to adhere to the principles of Washington's new 3-4 scheme.
Haynesworth will likely be replaced by some combination of Kedric Golston and Philip Daniels, who aren’t anywhere near as talented as Haynesworth, but are 178% less likely to spend an entire running down sitting cross legged on the field and writing down cake recipes.
This is what the Skins get for being dumb enough to toss guaranteed millions at Haynesworth two offseasons ago. Now they’re stuck with an unmotivated player who doesn’t care about his level of play because he’s already been paid. Yet Mike Shanahan refuses to cut Haynesworth because A) It would mean Haynesworth “won” their little battle of wills, and B) Haynesworth, if properly motivated, is easily their best d-lineman. That last tidbit is a bit of a fallacy, given that Haynesworth will NEVER be motivated properly under Shanahan as it stands right now.
Regardless of how the situation plays out, all you need to know as a Cowboys fan is that your offensive line will benefit on Sunday Night from this disaster in the making. Without Haynesworth, this line will be ripe to exploit against the rush, and Dallas has all three of their excellent backs waiting to attack the Skins’ 3-4. And even if Haynesworth does play, he’s clearly not in game shape yet, which could make him an even bigger weakness to exploit.
So sit back and fire up a stogie, Dallas fans. What once was an amusing preseason distraction suddenly has very real and very bad implications for the opposing team Sunday Night. How marvelous!