There are only two seasons: football, and waiting for football. The waiting season ends today.
The Washington Redskins open training camp at 4:00 PM. Most players reported to Redskins Park yesterday. That includes Albert Haynesworth, the focus of 99 percent of media attention coming out of Washington. Big Al met with head coach Mike Shanahan who described himself pleased with the outcome.
Shanahan said that Haynesworth must pass a physical and would start with the second team. Fans will see that as payback time for the defiance shown by Haynesworth upon Shanahan's arrival. Lets give Shanny more credit for professionalism.
The Redskins need to see--actually see--Haynesworth's fitness before risking his health, or trade value, in hard practice. After making an issue of the Skins' intended use of him on defense, the coach wants to see cooperation and a little faith from Big Al on team strategy. And Shanahan owes something to the players who put in the time.
Fairness dictates they not lose their spot just because the absent guy (finally) showed up. That approach hasn't been seen around here since Marty Schottenheimer in 2001. That's reason to hope that the cultural shift the Redskins need is happening. Haynesworth's talent should get him elevated to the first team in no time.
Former Redskin-former Bronco Mark Schlereth offers a few insights on Shanahan's practice methods. Rich Campbell of the Free-Lance Star reported a lengthy interview with Schlereth who played under Joe Gibbs, Norv Turner and Shanahan (I call him the Hog who got away).
Shanahan's practices should be crisp, up tempo, "full go" without a lot of hitting. Good. That suits the NFL's oldest team.
Campbell's article is a good read. Go take a look. We'll be here when you get back.