Published November 20, 2014
For the Washington Redskins, the absolutely, positively best moment concerning their preseason win over the New York Jets came when Albert Haynesworth opened his mouth and didn't say anything to stir up trouble.
Haynesworth even cracked a joke after the 16-11 victory Friday night, saying he was heading to coach Mike Shanahan's house for dinner and a cigar.
"What I said last week is behind me," Haynesworth said. "I don't even remember what I said."
Haynesworth had used the first two exhibition games to express his displeasure with Shanahan, adding fuel to the tit-for-tat that has overshadowed the Redskins for months. It's safe to say that coach and player aren't anywhere close to being best friends, but at least there will be no new fires to put out when practice resumes Sunday.
Instead, the Redskins for the first time have a tangible feel for how Haynesworth will probably be used in the regular season. After being relegated to backup nose tackle duty in the first two games, he was out there with the starters for much of the time Friday night, playing quite a bit at defensive end as well as the nose in a 3-4 alignment that he had been previously reluctant to embrace.
"I'm just trying to get down the end, and the 3-4 defense, to where I can be dominant in it," Haynesworth said. "My body feels great, as far as the wind and the power. ... I can definitely improve a whole lot."
Haynesworth's play was one of the few interesting highlights in a game that didn't reveal much about the Redskins' prospects heading into the regular season. The offense didn't start its projected starting backfield because quarterback Donovan McNabb is nursing a sprained ankle, fullback Mike Sellers has a sprained knee and running back Clinton Portis was given limited work so the coaches could see what Willie Parker could do.
One possible concern is that Portis sprained an ankle in the game.
"I don't think it is serious," Shanahan said. "I don't know how bad it is, but that's just guessing."
The offensive line still looks like a mixed bag — better at pass protection than run blocking. The defense looks significantly stronger and is producing turnovers, including DeAngelo Hall's second interception of the preseason.
Starters will play sparingly — if at all — in next week's game at Arizona, so the focus now is firmly on the Sept. 12 regular season opener against Dallas.
"We probably have a lot of stuff we have to improve on," receiver Santana Moss said. "But that is why we play preseason games, so that we can see these things and go and try to tune them up before Week 1 comes."