From speaking with Landry, you get the sense he isn’t close to returning at full strength any time soon. And even if he is cleared to play sometime in the coming weeks, with the unpredictable nature of sore hamstrings, it’s highly doubtful Landry will quickly display the strong form he showed last season.
Until he’s back and physically sound, we really won’t know how good the Redskins’ defense could become. As long as Landry spends more time with the medical staff than with Jim Haslett, Washington’s 3-4 will be missing an irreplaceable part.
“I’m not even gonna lie. I think about the accolades and all that stuff that I could have accomplished,” Landry said Monday while leaning against a wall inside the Redskins’ Ashburn training complex.
“If it wasn’t for the injuries, one thing after another, what could I have done? You think about that and all the stuff that comes with it. People ask me, ‘Are you frustrated?’ Man, of course I am.”
A badly strained left Achilles’ tendon derailed Landry’s climb in 2010, cutting short his productive season last November. Landry’s impressive performance in just nine games drew praise from Coach Mike Shanahan and Haslett, who each listed Landry as one of the best defensive players they’ve coached. Haslett took things a step further, saying Landry was the NFL’s defensive MVP in the first half of the season.
“Absolutely love the guy,” Haslett said. “Just love him.”
Landry sat out training camp while rehabbing from the tendon injury. He also underwent wrist surgery in the offseason, and has been slowed the past two years because of toe and shoulder problems.
He planned to play in the third and fourth preseason games and start the season opener. Instead, with his hamstring still not cooperating, Landry missed the entire preseason and Sunday’s 28-14 victory over the New York Giants.
Washington plays host to Arizona in Week 2, and “you know I want to be out there,” Landry said. “But wanting to do something and doing it are two different things.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I don’t know how long it’s gonna be. I just know where Coach Haz wants me to be. That’s where I want to be, too.”
Haslett arrived just in time for Landry.
Drafted sixth overall in 2007, Landry failed to meet expectations his first three seasons. He wasn’t quite saddled with the “draft bust” tag, but there was a lot of negative chatter about Landry. And some of it was heard in offices at Redskins Park.
Teaming with Haslett, Landry felt liberated. He was perfect for the aggressive 3-4 scheme Haslett installed at Shanahan’s direction. Last season, Landry’s production finally matched his potential. Suddenly, it was no longer ridiculous to compare Landry to Pittsburgh strong safety Troy Polamalu. Landry provided about everything the Redskins envisioned he could.