August 11, 2010
Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth(notes) has taken heat from just about everybody in professional football since he signed that seven-year, $100 million contract with the team in February of 2009. From his disappointing 2009 season, to his holdouts and unhappiness over the team's change to a 3-4 scheme in 2010, to his inability to pass a conditioning test for several days at the start of training camp, Haynesworth has rubbed most people the wrong way.
However, it's safe to say that no voice has been quite as strident and direct as that of NFL Network analyst and former All-Pro defensive tackle Warren Sapp(notes), who went after Haynesworth in a "Total Access" segment on Monday. Sapp, who was one of the best of his era with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders, started out by saying ... well, it's best to just give you the video and a transcript. This is a priceless review of Haynesworth's performance in Washington's 17-0 home loss to the Cowboys last December -- a game in which Haynesworth logged one solo tackle, no sacks and two quarterback hits.
"As we look back and think about Albert Haynesworth a year ago, let's watch the tape. The first play against the Dallas Cowboys ... we're all waiting on you to make some plays, and ... [Haynesworth gets blocked off his feet in a line slide] OH! We call that ‘O.G.', or ‘On the Ground' for a defensive lineman. First play of the game. Come back -- these plays are in sequence. A bubble screen, designed to make a defensive lineman run. Let you get up the field, throw the ball behind you [Haynesworth gets doubles out of the play and loafs back the line of scrimmage, trundling over to leap on top of the pile waaaaay after the play]. C'mon, Albert -- let's use some effort. It's the second play of the game! It's Monday Night Football! Cowboys and Indians. COME ON! You still on the ground? ‘J.O.P.', we call that -- ‘Jump On Pile!'
"Quick pass here ... Cowboys are playing ... oh -- not much effort or anything, but the ball's out. We'll give you a pass on that one. [Next] play of the game. Right where you want to be, in that three-technique, hittin' it and getting' it ... oh! [Haynesworth gets overwhelmed by a double-team]. Three-man rush, completed pass, got something going on, ball's still alive ... Let's go, Albert. C'MON! That's called a change of speed, my friend. When you have a change of speed, four plays into the game, he's out of the game now. The Cowboys have entered the red zone now. You want all your big weapons out there to prevent a team from scoring seven points, only giving up three. Albert's on the bench, getting a little water, a little Gatorade ... let's see what Albert has for us after two plays off. Mind you -- the Cowboys are in the red zone.
"C'mon, Albert -- you gotta give us something! Back in the 4-3 front again, and there's the counter [Haynesworth gets washed out by yet another double-team] ... See, what we call that right there is no bend, no lean -- he's not mean! He's not going to the ball! He's not inflicting any punishment on any Cowboys.
"Albert! You recognize anything that looks like a counter? No! We call that ‘being fooled and deceived.' When you're tired, you look up. When you peek, you're defeated all day long. The Cowboys went right down the field in eight plays and scored. Albert's in on six, and out on two. That's why you have to run the 300-yard shuttle -- Mike Shanahan wants to see more. Because you can't play this game tired, high, and off the field."
Yeouch. Haynesworth can blow off the slings and arrows from most, but when they come from a guy who played Haynesworth's very position better than he ever did -- well, that's gotta hurt. If this doesn't motivate Haynesworth to play at the level expected of him, nothing will.
Sadly, it's become fairly obvious that nothing will.
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