Albert Haynesworth will learn Redskins new defense from sidelines until he passes conditioning test

The Redskins practice twice on Day 3 of training camp, while Albert Haynesworth skips his third attempt to pass a conditioning test because of swelling in his knee.
By Rick Maese
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 1, 2010

Through the first three days of training camp, Albert Haynesworth has lined up against trash bins. He's run alone in the mornings and pedaled a stationary bike while his teammates have hit the practice field. His on-field work has been limited to tutorial sessions with defensive coaches.

Whenever Haynesworth is allowed to rejoin his teammates during practice, he'll have a lot of catching up to do, his teammates and coaches say. The Washington Redskins began installing their new defense in April, which means Haynesworth isn't simply three days behind his teammates, like a training camp holdout might be; he's more than three months behind.

Haynesworth skipped Coach Mike Shanahan's conditioning test on Saturday morning because of swelling in his knee -- "There's a setback already," Shanahan said -- which means the defensive tackle has missed the first five practices of camp. Haynesworth will not be allowed to practice with the team until he's passed the conditioning test.

But there is a sense of urgency in trying to bring him up to speed, and Haynesworth was more visibly involved in the team's preparations on Saturday, even spending the entire afternoon "jog-through" session on the field, watching his teammates and studying the team's new 3-4 defense up close.

"Even though he's not out there in pads, he's still getting a lot of work in," Shanahan said.

That's essential because his teammates, who've spent the past three months learning the scheme, say adjusting to the new defense takes time.

"The sooner he can get that situated and get out here, the better," said defensive end Phillip Daniels. "Right now, he's doing us no good just being inside or wherever, trying to get back out here. We just need him out here. I want him to learn this defense and help us out."

Because of the swelling in Haynesworth's knee, coaches weren't sure if he would be ready to attempt the test again Sunday morning. Either way, they're making sure he's doing as much as possible -- short of taking the field with his teammates.

General Manager Bruce Allen said he feels no frustration with the way the Haynesworth drama is playing out.

"He's learning a lot right now in meetings and other activities," Allen said, "so it's working fine."

Haynesworth visited Saturday's morning practice to observe the early walk-through portions of the session. He also returned to the field after practice to work with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and defensive line coach Jacob Burney. That session lasted about 30 minutes, longer than the amount of time Haynesworth spent on the field the previous two days.

Haynesworth spent the entirety of the afternoon session on the field observing the scheme, as well.

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