August 24, 2010 7:24 AM
You had to think, or as a Redskins fan you probably had to hope, that with the hiring of Mike Shanahan, the focus would be on football in Washington in 2010.
So far, no good.
Albert Haynesworth has been off the field more than he's been on it this preseason, and his news is what has dominated Redskins camp.
He's out of shape. He won't play unless he practices. He can't practice because he has 'headaches'...or maybe a medical condition.
Not the kind of start Shanahan was probably hoping for.
It's not just Haynesworth. Though hands-on owner Dan Snyder has been relatively quiet to this point, there was a minor uproar among NFL types when news came down that the Redskins had fired one of their main public relations guys. He seemed well-liked by those with the power of the pen, and that means it's a story that won't slip away quietly.
On the field the Redskins have a new look, extending beyond Shanahan. They stole Donovan McNabb away from division rival Philadelphia, a stark improvement at the quarterback position over Jason Campbell, who never really figured it out with the Redskins. They are also getting Chris Cooley back from injury, which will help McNabb. He'll need as much help as he can get from the receivers, because the Redskins running backs are all on the downside of their careers. If Shanahan gets good seasons from Larry Johnson, Clinton Portis, or Willie Parker, it would be even more of an endorsement of the system that got production from the likes of Mike Anderson and Reuben Droughns.
On defense, the biggest addition might be coordinator Jim Haslett. He brings professionalism to what is already a pretty strong unit. And don't forget that when Haynesworth is actually on the field, he can be a pretty disruptive force.
The problem might be if his disruptions extend off the field as well. Then Mike Shanahan will be experiencing constant 'headaches' as well.
2010 Prediction: 9-7, 2nd Place in NFC East