For an organization and coach trying to point the Washington Redskins in the right direction this holiday season, defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is playing the part of Scrooge.
After arriving late to a team meeting, Redskins coach Jim Zorn sent the combustible Haynesworth home Friday in the most recent event in a trouble season for the highly paid All-Pro. The day after Christmas, Haynesworth decided to speak out against his coaches and the Redskins' organization as a whole.
"They're all against me or whatever, " Haynesworth told the Washington Post . "But I know what I'm saying is right because I've been in a scheme that works."
This week has been a trying one for Haynesworth and the Redskins' defense. In the Skins' Monday night fiasco versus their rival New York Giants, Haynesworth was part of an intense scuffle involving Giants running back Brandon Jacobs. The fight seemed to be a physical manifestation of the frustration and anger that Redskins fans have displayed all year.
When the NFL laid fines on both Jacobs and Haynesworth, the matter was though to be closed.
Haynesworth has a history of volatile and disruptive behavior in his NFL career. In a 2006 game against the Dallas Cowboys, Hayenesworth (then with the Titans) stomped on center Andre Gurode's head twice leaving him with 30 stitches. The incident has in many ways defined Haynesworth's legacy to this point.
As hard as it is to admit, Haynesworth has a point. Last year with the Titans, the massive defensive lineman ate up three blockers at a time allowing Kyle Vanden Bosch and Tony Brown to have career years. The Titans were 13-3 and surpassed many people's expectations.
In Washington, fans and coaches expected more of the same when they made Haynesworth the highest paid Defensive tackle in the NFL. With Brian Orakpo and Andre Carter both posting 11 sacks this season, it's hard to deny Haynesworth's impact. Still, these defensive numbers haven't translated to wins for an increasingly football anxious city.
Yes, Haynesworth has been hurt. And the offense has dealt with inconsistent play and injuries from the beginning, but the weaknesses of the team seem in many ways to be institutional and schematic.
It's been hard to be an advocate for Jim Zorn all year. He had his play calling duties revoked. He's been under constant pressure. Shanahan has already been interviewed. Most recently, the Redskins failed to execute one the worst trick plays in history against the Giants.
Haynesworth's comments, though ill-timed in many ways, are the latest event in a disappointing season for the Redskins. As sad as it is for Zorn, Haynesworth's feelings could likely be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for a team and organization in peril.
It's easy to write Haynesworth's thoughts on his new team and merely a disgruntled over-paid player's opinion. But the situation in Washington requires a little more insight. As the Washington front office continues to make changes, like the additions of Bruce Allen, it is becoming more likely that this is the end for Zorn.