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Washington Redskins 2010: 10 preseason questions answered

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 3, 2010; 10:34 PM

The Redskins' roster shrinks to 53 players Saturday. Dallas week formally begins Sunday. And the Mike Shanahan Era enters the regular season next weekend.

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With the preseason finished, players might seem more familiar with the schemes and the coaches more comfortable with their personnel. But that wasn't necessarily the case five weeks ago. When the Redskins reported for training camp, much of what we had were questions. Looking back over our top questions at the start of training camp, this preseason did provide several important answers for the Redskins.

1

Will disgruntled, all-pro defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth report to camp in shape after skipping all but one day of Coach Mike Shanahan's first offseason program?

Verdict: Haynesworth was the story line that would not go away. He created national news from the start of training camp until the end of the preseason.

He reported to camp noticeably trimmer than he was in 2009 - about 35 pounds lighter - but he failed Shanahan's conditioning test and couldn't practice for the first nine days of training camp. He finally passed the test but was relegated to the second string for the duration of the preseason.

Haynesworth was then sidelined at the end of camp with what sources said was a bout of rhabdomyolysis, and he criticized the coach through the media for minimizing his condition.

The icy relationship between Haynesworth and Shanahan seemed to thaw late in preseason. Haynesworth took some snaps with the starters, lining up at both nose tackle and defensive end. He had his lone start of the preseason Thursday at Arizona, and was on the field for 49 of the team's 55 defensive plays.

Shanahan told reporters Haynesworth played so much because "he's got to get in football shape."

Haynesworth may not have been pleased. "I have no comment," he said as a reporter approached him in the locker room.

Bottom line: The Redskins are a better team with Haynesworth playing on the defensive line. Regardless of his feelings for Shanahan, he apparently now likes the defensive scheme. If the preseason is any indication, he could be a big player for the Redskins this year - but also a big distraction.

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