The countdown is on to the start of training camps across the National Football League. One team that will be garnering lots of interest this August and throughout the 2010 season is the Washington Redskins. New coach, new quarterback, and all the makings of a juicy story if the ‘Skins are somehow able to compete with the Dallas Cowboys and the other solid teams in the NFC East.
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan joined WFAN in New York to talk about his early work with McNabb, how he was impressed by owner Daniel Snyder’s commitment to winning, the latest in the Albert Haynesworth saga, and playing in the NFC East.
On what it’s been like working with Donovan McNabb thus far:
“Well it’s been great. I’ve had a chance to work with him for three mini-camps, 20 practices and like any quarterback, it’s a new system. We know what Donovan has done, he’s a class act and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
On if he ever had any reservations about taking the job working for Dan Snyder:
“Well one of the things you always look at when you talk to an owner…I wouldn’t say I’m quip, but you want to be very honest. I know what type of commitment he’s made with the Washington Redskins. He wants to win more than anybody. And he let me know I’d have final decision relative to personnel and things along those lines and told me how he expected his relationship and my relationship to work. And I’ve been working here for the last six months and I couldn’t ask for more than what he’s given me.”
On what’s the latest in the Albert Haynesworth situation:
“Well to be honest with you, I’m looking forward to camp starting. And my understanding is that Albert’s going to be there. As we talked before, I talked to Albert right before..well, about a month after I got the job and I sat down with Albert and said that if he does not want to be part of the Washington Redskins, I’d let him go. I wouldn’t trade him, I’d let him go to another football team. But if he did take the check for $21 million, I’d expect him to play any position that we thought was in the best interest of the Washington Redskins – be it nose tackle, defensive end, if we wanted to play him at free safety…So expected him to come in in great shape and do the things we expected of him and that he’s capable of doing. Hopefully he does that. He didn’t show up at mini-camp, so guys are going to be looking at him and seeing what type of shape he’s in, if he’s doing to do the little things the right way. Time will tell. If he is buying in and he is in great shape, we know what type of talent he is and we know he can help our football team win.”
On if it was the position change that was the crux of Haynesworth’s discontentment:
“I really don’t know to be honest with you. I have not talked to him since the one conversation I did have. But I made it crystal clear to him that if he did take that $21 million dollars, we expected him to play at the position we feels gives us the best chance to win.”
On moving into the brutal and highly competitive and visible NFC East:
“Well I’m excited. Anytime you go into a division like the NFC East you know how competitive is. You’ve been in this game for along time in the National Football League, and you want to paly in the top division. And I think the NFC East over the years has been the top division. Right now there’s a lot of good football teams and hopefully we can play well and get back on top.”