Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is hopeful that Donovan McNabb is the quarterback he expects him to be and that Albert Haynesworth will show up at training camp in shape and ready to play any position assigned to him.
Meh. Shanahan gave fluff answers to soft ball questions pitched to him on TOTAL ACCESS in the NFL Network last Friday.
I'm more disappointed in the questions asked of Shanahan than by his answers. TOTAL ACCESS might have asked Shanahan's thoughts about break-out players who impressed during the OTAs, or for any thoughts about, oh say, Vincent Jackson. The NFL Network wasn't up to the job.
It's fair to point out NFL Network's delicate position. You cannot be the league-owned network and ask leading questions of a star coach that lures him into a violation of NFL policies against tampering.
Not that Shanny would have answered anything specific on those topics. Perhaps specific questions were off limits. In that case there was no point to the interview. TOTAL ACCESS would have done just as well to spend more time with Seattle Seahawk head coach Pete Carroll, which they mostly did anyway.
Here's my close transcription of the Shanahan segment of TOTAL ACCESS:
On what is it like taking a team and turning it around:
I've been the league for 20 years and you have ups and downs to put a team together that gives you a chance to do something to win this year.
On Donovan McNabb:
Well, donovan has a learning curve to go through. He has to learn a new terminology like learning a new language. He's done a great job coming in. Hopefully he can do the things we expect to get done.
On what Shanahan and his staff want to see from Albert Haynesworth:
We've had guys working for the last four and five months . We're trying to put the best football team together. Hopefully, when Albert does come in, he'll be playing extremely hard and is in great shape. Regardless of whatever position we play in we want him to help us win. At the end of the day, hopefully he will do that.
Are you implying [that] Albert will not play nose tackle?
Albert will play the best position to help us win. We talked to his agent and gave him the option to find a new position, but he took the money. Whatever the position, he is going to do what we think will put us in the best chance to win a championship. (Emphasis mine.)
NFL.com published the segment of the interview dealing with Haynesworth.
Shanahan must have been making the rounds last week. WFAN in New York interviewed coach Shanahan and asked nearly the same questions and got nearly the same answers. Read the transcript on sportsradiointerviews.com.
Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday was the in studio guest host on TOTAL ACCESS. He was asked to rank the Best In The Bis defensive tackles. Saturday listed Haynesworth as tied for fifth place along with Tennessee Titans Tony Brown (no relation, dammit) and Minnesota Vikings Kevin Williams.
Says Saturday, Haynesworth could be No.1 "anytime he wants to play." Interesting that Saturday listed Haynesworth in tandem with Tennessee's Brown. That's more evidence that a players performance is affected by the players around him.
Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff was fourth on Saturday's list. Rounding out the list from third to first place was Kris Jenkins (Jets), Vince Wilfork (Patriots) and Haloti Ngata (Ravens).