ASHBURN, VA - JULY 30: Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth #92 of the Washington Redskins works out with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett (R) following practice on the second day of training camp July 30, 2010 in Ashburn, Virginia. Haynesworth failed a team mandated conditioning test for the second day in a row prior to the morning practice. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
When asked by a reporter whether he regrets the team's shift in defensive scheme from a 4-3 to a 3-4 considering the fallout that occurred with Haynesworth, Haslett launched into a nearly two and a half minute rant lambasting the defensive tackle, along with one of his supposed defenders in the media.
"Last year, I got here, and the first thing I did is watch all the tapes. I saw a guy that just got $100 million play bad, play bad, as a three technique, and then the year where the defensive coordinator left, I saw a guy blasting him. Saying, 'Well, I didn't like the defense, I didn't like the 4-3, I didn't like the way I was used.' So, can you ever make the guy happy? I don't know. What do you want? You do exactly what you do in Tennessee, and you're not happy?"
"He wasn't happy this year with the 3-4. He wasn't happy last year with the 4-3. What else do you want to do? Run a 2-5?"
Maybe he wants one of those unconventional amoeba defenses where no one lines up with their hand on the ground.
Haslett then went after the media for the presumption that Haynesworth is the best defensive player on the team, or even the league, and that leaving him out severely hurt the Redskins' defense's chance of stopping the Giants' ground attack on Sunday.
"Your columnist writes in the paper that [Haynesworth is] 'the best defensive lineman you got, the best against the run.' I disagree with that. 'One of the best defensive linemen in the National Football League?' I disagree with that. 'One of the best guys in free agency?' I saw Julius Peppers that year, so I disagree with that. So there's a lot of things that people write and say that I don't think they really even watch film."
"There's a lot of things that people write and say that I don't think they really ever watch film. The columnist, I never even see him out here to watch a practice, let alone a film. I don't know, does he come to the games? He probably watches it on TV."
The columnist being assailed is widely presumed to be The Washington Post's Mike Wise, whose piece on Tuesday featured the sentiments that Haslett was railing against.
A few quibbles with Haslett's comments:
Julius Peppers wasn't an unrestricted free agent in early 2009. He had received the franchise tag from the Carolina Panthers. So, if the Redskins had tried to acquire him, it would have cost the team two first-round draft picks. Sure, in retrospect it would have saved them a costly headache with Haynesworth, but at the time that would have been a lot to give up.
Also, it's unclear what exactly there is to be gained from watching the games in person, as opposed to at home on television. It's one thing to talk about the quality of defensive back coverage, which can sometimes be difficult to evaulate on TV, but the play of the line is pretty easy to judge whether at the stadium or over broadcast. It's a cheap implication that suggest that detail alone makes Wise lazy or uninformed.