Keeping Tabs on Washington's Team

Haynesworth Could Be X-Factor Against Dallas

By Jim Iovino
|  Sunday, Sep 12, 2010  |  Updated 8:13 PM EDT
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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 27: Albert Haynesworth #92 of the Washington Redskins battles D'Brickashaw Ferguson #60 of the New York Jets during their preseason game on August 27, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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So word is out that Big Al will play Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys.  And his impact could be bigger than many people think.

Coach Mike Shanahan has apparently let bygones be bygones and will allow $100 million man Albert Haynesworth to suit up in the season opener at FedEx Field.

ESPN's Ed Werder reported that Haynesworth will play primarily on passing downs and rush the QB from the inside. 

But, after all of the embarrassment and frustration associated with Haynesworth's tumultuous training camp, could the big guy be the X-Factor against the Cowboys?

Dallas' offensive line has been a mess all preseason due to injuries and roster cuts.  And going into Sunday night's game, the 'Boys will be without two starters usually relied upon to protect Tony Romo.

Tackle Marc Colombo and guard Kyle Kosier won't dress due to bum knees.  That means Dallas will start the season with three different starting linemen than last year.  The third -- Doug Free replaces Flozell Adams and his penchant for false starts.  Flo was cut in the offseason.

So with the Cowboys' offensive line in shambles, Big Al has an great opportunity to prove he's worth all of the money, frustration and headaches that accumulated during the offseason.

Either Haynesworth will show up and make a true effort on the field, or he's continue his sulking and pouting that was so characteristic of him throughout camp.

If he plays well, he could put an end to the saga surrounding him and his coach.  Big Al will be able to show everyone that he really didn't need to practice or train.  At the same time, Coach Shanahan will be able to look good for sticking with his big man and being smart enough to use him on Opening Night.

Hey, if nothing else, at least he'll look good enough for a team like Tennessee to consider ponying up two draft picks for him before Week 2.

And that could be the best scenario of them all.

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