Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

07 Dec 2010

Albert Haynesworth Suspended For Four Games

Albert Haynesworth has been suspended for the final four games of the year by the Redskins for "conduct detrimental to the club."

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 07 Dec 2010

59 comments, Last at 09 Dec 2010, 8:11pm by tuluse


by NJBammer :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 1:30pm

Drat. I had the "16 games" box in the office pool.

by Yuri (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 1:57pm

What is the max # of games that's allowable for suspension. I think 4 games is the max and then the player needs to be released?

Also if I recall correctly there's no longer allowed a Terrell Owens situation where he got paid not to play.

by Kurt :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:27pm

That was Keyshwan.

by deep64blue :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:32pm

No it was TO in Philly.

by Kurt :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:47pm

Huh. Not sure how I forgot about TO, but it did happen to Keyshawn too.


by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:24pm

IIRC, when it happened to T.O., it was referred to as "being Keyshawned".

by DavidL :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 1:32pm

Now they just need to do the same to the O-line.

by NHPatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 1:40pm

"Being Albert Haynesworth"? "Breathing"? "Getting caught with 4 circus midgets, a kangaroo, a trampoline and a gallon jug of Astroglide"?

Conduct detrimental to the team is so..... unsatisfyingly non-specific.

by TomC :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:48pm

4 circus midgets, a kangaroo, a trampoline and a gallon jug of Astroglide

I don't see how that conduct is detrimental to anybody. (And how did you find my Amazon wish list?)

by Dunbar :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 8:38pm

I don't know, I don't think I'd like to be the kangaroo in that situation.

I just think it would be bored by the trampoline. It can already jump really high.

by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 1:45pm

I got a feeling a grievance is coming here.

The latest incident is Haynseworth "skipping" practice, when Haynesworth says he was sick, showed up a minute late, and Shanahan wouldn't let him in.

This isn't like TO where he was getting in fights, etc. It seems to me like Shanahan just doesn't like the guy (he probably has good reason, but not liking a guy isn't grounds for suspension)

by rk (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:53pm

According to Shanahan, Haynesworth has refused to play in the base defense or the nickel on first or second down.

by Stats are for losers (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:49pm

The new CBA should contain language stipulating that comparing your contract to slavery is a suspendable offense.

by Theo :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 7:49pm

As a black guy I'm getting pretty tired of these white guy supremacy feelings.

by Stats are for losers (not verified) :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 7:54pm

As a white guy, I think all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I'm certainly not! And I'm sick and tired of being told that I am.

by Kurt :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:31pm

The Redskins beat reporter insinuated last night that Haynesworth was hung over on Friday, and that he (the reporter) constantly gets tweets from people who see Haynesworth out on the town drinking.

by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 6:02pm


What he does in his own time is his own business.

by Kurt :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 7:04pm

*IF* he's hung over on Friday morning, that's not his time.

by Jimmy :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 1:49pm

Does anybody think this guy can still play? Does he need the right system (ie. three technique in a 40 front)? Will he lose the weight? Will the Skins manage to get anything more than a toasted sandwich for the rights to his exorbitant contract?

by dsouten :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 1:54pm

Yes, he can absolutely play when properly utilized in a four man front. Last year he was at times used too cautiously by Greg Blache, but when turned loose (or when he turned himself loose against orders) was still completely distructive. He dictated everything the offensive line did.

He lost 30 pounds last offseason - the weight issue is an easy joke but is kind of a canard.

No, the Redskins cannot get any value for him. Some team is going to get a dominant, if mercurial talent for free.

by NJBammer :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:06pm

Jeff Fisher couldn't stand him. Shanny can't stand him. What coach will take a chance on him at this point? I can't see any team paying enough for him to be happy, and I can't see him signing anywhere for what a team might extend to take a chance. Sadly, I see his playing days as being over, seriously.

by BucNasty :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:15pm

Randy Moss was picked up despite what he did this year. I can't imagine no one taking a chance on Haynesworth, particularly after he's been humbled by the market. I guarantee you can squeeze at least one good year out of him, probably on the cheap.

by dmb :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:35pm

Actually, both Fisher and Jim Schwartz have implied multiple times that they'd be happy to have Haynesworth again.

by TomC :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:30pm

Haynesworth on the Lions is a frightening prospect. I realize that he & Suh are both technically 3-technique guys, but imagine what would happen if you lined them up next to each other and said "screw it, I don't need a nose tackle, both of you guys go kill somebody." You might get the occasional big play against you, but there'd be no such thing as a pocket.

by sam_acw (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:43pm

That I'd like to see, some good run stoppers behind them and they could destroy lineman and QBs.

by Basilicus :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:06pm

He's just the kind of guy the Redskins would sign in a heartbea- oh, wait.

Honestly, you'd think cleating Andre Gurode in the face would have been a signal years ago that maybe, just maybe, this guy's not going to be that helpful to your team.

by AnonymousYo (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 11:02pm

Dude, he stomped on a Cowboy! A COWBOY! What more could a Redskins' fan want from a player?

I'm only half being sarcastic here.

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 3:30pm

If it's true that he's still good, the Bears should grab him in a heartbeat. The 3-technique is pivotal to Lovie's scheme and sadly, Tommie Harris will never again be what he was. Matt Toeaina is hardly a scrub, but a healthy, motivated Haynesworth is a huge upgrade.

by dsouten :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:00pm

One more point - his contract is no longer exorbitant because the Redskins advanced most of the guaranteed money to take advantage of the capless year. So some team really is going to get a great bargain provided they can manage his personality.

by Jimmy :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 2:45pm

From what I remember about the details of the contract the salaries for the next couple of years aren't too bad but are still $6.5m-$7.5m. If he is playing well he is worth it but would you want to wager that he will have no knee troubles or turning up troubles. The back end of the contract is still huge money, that'll happen when you hand out a $100m contract.

by MCS :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:33pm

These questions, and many others, will be answered on the next episode of... Soap

by NJBammer :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 5:49pm

Comment of the day.

by Foosballs (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:27pm

Well, the McDannahan era in Washington is certainly off to a great start! This team is so much better than it was under Zorn and Blatche...

I don't understand how the self-described Ultimate Leader could take such a stupid and self-defeating course with Haynesworth, transforming someone who while a challenging individual with an exorbitant contract was no doubt also a big asset on the field, stripping him of all the value and leaving the club of which you are the Ultimate Leader saddled only with the cost side of this. And making the cost side worse by layering in a bunch of player vs. coach, black vs. white, my way or the highway unneeded noise.

I'm much more a fan of the Earl Weaver approach: let me take my players and put them in positions that play to their strengths as much as possible. Let me not get distracted by the stuff I don't like that they do. Let me not create unneeded distractions, because my goal is to win, and as brilliant as I think am, winning really only happens through the players, not through my genius.

Finally, the idea that Haynesworth's career is done is laughable. He's still an outstanding, way above average DT, and those guys are definitionally hard to find.

by BroncosGuyAgain (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 8:40pm

McDannahan? I don't understand the reference. Are you suggesting Shanny is a Josh McDaniels acolyte?

And what, pray tell, did Shanahan (please note the single "n" in the middle; yes, you mis-spelled your own sobriquet for him) do to "transform" Haynesworth?

Also, if anyone didn't catch Vonnie Holliday on Scott Van Pelt's radio show, track it down if you are interested. Holliday was remarkably frank concerning Haynesworth, acknowledging (in a polite fashion) that Haynesworth has credibility issues in the locker room and is a running joke among his teammates.

Finally, Foosballs, if you can't tell that this team is better than last year, you need more help than I can give you. Allen and Shanahan both have flaws, but they are a significant step forward

by dmb :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 9:56pm

I was with you until that last paragraph.

2009 DVOA: -5.9%
2010 DVOA: -18.0%

The McNabb trade left them with less than a full stock of draft picks, and the franchise makeover wasn't exactly a youth movement -- in fact, I think the roster may be even older this year. The move to a 3-4 was, predictably, a failure. Trent Williams shows promise, but he's the only draft pick that's even made it onto the field in a non-special-teams role. (Admittedly, they didn't have many picks to work with this year.) In fact, most of the other rookies were cut or have been on practice squad / inactive all season.

So the team's performance this year is worse than last year's, and the cost of the changes may have even further diminished the teams' long-term prospects.

I'm not arguing that the Redskins are definitively worse off, but I think one could very easily take that view regardless of how much "help" s/he needs.

by BroncosGuyAgain (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 10:48pm

Ah, yes, I keep forgetting that DVOA is the goal, thus the Eagles on a quest for a five-peat (yes, its an exaggeration, I'm making a point here). The 'skins already have more wins than last (with 25% yet to play), and last year's team had Albert Haynesworth. Last year at this time the team was a laughingstock, with more attention paid to Zorn's inevitable dismissal than anything performance related. I'll say it again: if you cannot discern on your own that the Redskins are on a much better course versus last year, then you are beyond help. Good luck in the DVOA bowl.

by dmb :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 12:56am

First, if you think wins are the only useful metric and cannot see how something like DVOA might provide a more nuanced and insightful view into performance, I do not understand why you're wasting your time at this site.

Second, none of the teams' victories this year have come by more than one score; their largest margin of victory was exactly six. (A fumble recovery returned for a touchdown provided that win, over the very impressive Wade Phillips Cowboys.) Three of those five glorious wins were by a single field goal, two of them in overtime. Meanwhile, they've still suffered humiliating blowouts at the hands of division opponents -- just like last year -- but have also managed to lose by 14 to the Rams and by 12 to the Lions. Last year the Redskins were at least able to win two of their games by double digits (over the Broncos by 10 and the Raiders by 21). Obviously, that wasn't the most impressive opposition, but they've had their chance against some cupcakes this year, and haven't significantly outplayed their opposition in a single match. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they had a lower VOA than their opponent in every single game thus far.

Third, the team didn't actually have Haynesworth for all of 2009, as he missed four full games -- plus parts of others -- with injury. This year, on the other hand, most of the time that he has missed can be directly attributed to coaching decisions, either due to scheme change or choosing to hold him out voluntarily. (It's really strange that you argue that somehow Shanahan has been handicapped by Haynesworth's absence, when it's mostly been Shanahan's decisions to keep him out!) It's not like the heavens forced the Redskins to switch to a 3-4, reducing Haynesworth's usefulness and motivation, nor did the heavens require Shanahan to handle Haynesworth's surliness in the manner he chose to. (To be fair, Haynesworth has missed some time due to injury/personal matters, but he has missed multiple games where he said he was willing and able to play.)

Fourth, if you want to talk about the team suffering due to missed games, then I think it's relevant to point out that last year's team dealt with worse injury issues than all but six teams in the league, as measured by AGL. Granted, half of this year's roster was wiped out against the Titans, but I'd be surprised if they end up having as many players miss games this year as they did last year.

Finally, how fans and the media frame a teams' season has very little to do with anything relevant. Was Zorn a sitting duck last year? Sure. Do I have more faith in Shanahan to do a bit better? Absolutely. (Bruce Allen, I'm much less sure about.) But if you take a break from some of the idiot storylines and foxsports comments and actually spend some time looking into the teams' performance, the early results haven't been good. And, again, Shanahan and Allen focused their efforts on short-term improvements; they have traded away picks rather than stockpile them, and their acquisitions in free agency/trades generally haven't been younger players. Certainly it's early, but if you make moves that are supposed to pay off quickly, then it's reasonable to expect significant improvement.

Again, do I believe the team is worse off than it was last year? Not necessarily. But if the team's improvement is so self-evident, then the ease with which one can find arguments to the contrary is awfully strange.

by BroncosGuyAgain (not verified) :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 8:45pm

First, DMB, let me apologize for the final paragraph of my post; that's not the tone I intended nor the one you deserve. My fault, and my fault only.

I didn't mean to suggest that this year's team is terribly impressive. Saying they're on a better path than in 2009 is damning with really faint praise. I also believe Shanahan deserves criticism for several moves and, to a lesser extent, for his handling of Haynesworth. Still, there is a cohesive offensive philosophy in place, and the circus has left town. I think Shanny has underestimated the size of the re-building job, and your criticisms of trading draft picks, etc., I think are well placed. Still, how can a 'skins fan be less optimistic now than a year ago?

I will disagree on Haynesworth. Haynesworth is missing time because of his complete disinterest in playing football. Even when on the field, he takes a ridiculous number of plays off, often - literally - just lying around on the turf. You are right, no burning bush commanded a switch to the 3-4. On the other hand, Hayneworth was offered a chance to leave, and he cashed a check instead. And he still has the option of professionalism.

Thanks for the response.

by dmb :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 10:58pm

No problem -- the internet has plenty of snark to go around, so I apologize for responding in-kind.

I do think you're right that having Shanahan and Allen around at least signifies that there are people in the organization with some established track record of your success, something that's both encouraging and very different from last year. Indeed, if a Redskins' fan is to be optimistic, that is probably the strongest reason for it. But if you don't have strong faith in the Shanahan/Allen combo, then I think there's plenty of reason to be worried (as expressed above).

As for Haynesworth, I certainly don't think the situation is anywhere close to 100% Shanahan's fault. But I thought it was relevant to point out that Shanahan certainly played a role in how things unfolded.

by perly :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 1:14am

Huh? Last year, the team was out of playoff contention early and the roster needed to be blown up.

This year, the team was out of playoff contention early and the roster still needs to be blown up.

The problem is there's already been huge turnover, and the new players either aren't better, or are simply worse, than the guys they've replaced. As many as 8/11 of offense are new this year, and they've got the worst 3rd down percentage in the league. Last year's two best DL, Haynesworth and Carter, were completely marginalized and the innovative 34 front not only still can't get pressure, but also can't stop the run.

So the roster needs to be blown up, but it needs to be done by the guys who already screwed it up this year. How is this a better course?

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 6:30pm

The Redskins were pitiful last year, which worked out for me because they were out of playoff contention by the time the ski season started. Week in, week out, they had little hope of winning a game. Yes, their DVOA is worse this year, but considering the different type of football they're trying to play on offense and defense, that's not too alarming. They're not a good team, but they are a legitimate NFL team, unlike last year's version, which wasn't competitive. This year's squad has some pretty good teams on their list of victories. There is promise for next year. Not as much promise as the Rams, Raiders, or Lions, but I expect that to seem them at 0.0% DVOA. If there is a next year.

by Deelron :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 4:51pm

"Conduct detrimental to the club?" Heck Dan Snyder's been doing that for years and has never suspended himself.

Additionally, while I'm fairly sure Haynesworth deserves plenty of blame I just can't bring myself to believe anything that comes out of Mike Shanahan's mouth, at least, without a lie detector test.

by the original Guido Merkens (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 7:21pm

the 'skins spend a lot of money to sign a good 4-3 DT, then the next year hire a 3-4 DC.

i saw this track coming a long time ago.

as a 'skins fan, i was noy thrilled about the hiring of bruce allen, or mike shanahani. have no confidence in their abilities to get this team competitive.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 8:22pm

Look at Tampa's drafts from 2002-2008. While part of it is certainly Gruden's influence, it's generally understood that Gruden and Allen were on the same page and there wasn't a lot of conflict. Those drafts SUCKED.


by V. Barbarino (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 8:54pm

As a Broncos fan, I would warn any fans of the Washington football team that, if you're counting on Shanahan to draft wisely, you will likely be disappointed. His terrible drafting, for almost the entirety of his career in Denver ( yes, a few jewels came out, but those were more flukes...TD was a middle-round pick, Rod Smith a free agent, etc ), in particular in the case of the defense, is what has left Denver in such rotten shape, and has helped cause ( with his own help, I grant you ) the dismissal of his successor in Denver. Whoever gets the job next at Dove Valley will find the cupboard just as bare in that regard as McDaniels did, and will suffer the same consequences. Shanahan did this franchise no favors, and the idea that the Broncos were in 'great position' when he left is absurd; the man was fired for a reason. But, the narrative has already been written, so...

by Joseph :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 9:26pm

Not to restart the "McDaniels got fired" thread, but the offense WAS in great position when Shanny left--the defense wasn't. What has gotten better--the offense, defense or special teams????--Answer: NONE OF THE ABOVE.

by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 10:02pm

The offense is still great.

And unlike Washington, they haven't gotten dramatically worse everywhere else.

by Basilicus :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 10:43pm

Speaking of the Broncos, you said, "Shanahan did this franchise no favors."

I'm pretty sure he did have something to do with a pair of Super Bowl wins, what with the being the head coach and all. Crazy leap of logic, I know...

by V. Barbarino (not verified) :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 7:28pm

Yeah, 1998 was a hell of a year, wasn't it?
The next century started then. He was a disaster.
Thanks for the smugness.

by BigCheese :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 3:48am

They are actually going to find the cupboard significantly more bare than McDaniels did, after he got rid of Cutler, Marshall, Hillis and a ton of draft picks, including 2011 and 2012 ones...

- Alvaro

by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 12:03pm

I'm starting to think that Orton is better than Cutler, and Brandon Marshall hasn't exactly been dominant in Miami.

And Peyton Hillis? Yawn. He's not what make's the Brown's running game go. Joe Thomas is.

by V. Barbarino (not verified) :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 7:26pm

I love how the fact that Hillis is having a good year behind a measurably better offensive line now links a guy who did almost literally nothing here, with either McDaniels or Shanahan, beyond a few 'gritty white guy' runs as 'Holy God, they got rid of Peyton Hillis!'
If he was here, with this offensive line, he'd still be some gritty white guy bashing into a line with no running holes.

by tuluse :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 8:11pm

Well at least they wouldn't have used the 12th overall pick on him.

by t.d. :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 10:15pm

pretty sure kc joyner (who does more individual player analysis, as opposed to football outsiders more holistic approach) has said several times this year that Haynesworth is still playing at a tremendous level. he's going to be a huge pickup for someone

by speedegg :: Tue, 12/07/2010 - 11:06pm

Be careful when you use KC Joyner's info. I remember when he said the addition of Dre Bly in Denver with Champ Bailey would transform the Denver defense into an immovable object. That year the defense crumbled and has continued to erode. McDaniels didn't do the defense any favors either.

Joyner comes up with useful stuff, but a lot of it goes way off the mark.

by dmb :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 12:49am

Even the more insightful analysts will sometimes miss badly on projections, so I wouldn't hold a single (or even a handful) of bad predictions against someone. That said, I agree that he has a tendency to lead himself astray; I feel like about half of his articles simply lack the nuance you would expect from someone making his name in analytics. I find myself very skeptical of the arguments he makes in those. But it seems like the other half of the time -- when he manages to take context into account, etc. -- he comes up with some neat work.

by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 12:06pm

2007-2008 Shanahan Defense : 15.8%
2009-2010 McDaniel Defense : 7.2%

McDaniels hasn't done the defense any favors? They're still bad, but they're drastically better than they were under Shanahan.

Shanahan was a great coach at one point. The late 2000s were not that point.

by Southern Philly :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 2:38am

If Joyner says he's playing at a tremendous level, then I'm inclined to believe he's not. Honestly though he's played pretty well at times. And other times he's completely dogged it. He'll be a huge pickup for some if he's motivated, and he's shown numerous times this year that it is incredibly hard to motivate him. I mean, there are current teammates openly criticizing him for his behavior and work ethic, which is rare, usually they wait until you're gone to slam you.

by turbohappy (not verified) :: Wed, 12/08/2010 - 1:47am

I wonder if the Colts could sign him for relative peanuts? They've been struggling to find someone to play that position since the one year with Booger McFarland in 2006.