Washington Redskins’ malcontent  Albert Haynesworth may in fact not be in playing shape. However, the 300-yard shuttle run is a lousy way to assess a defensive lineman’s fitness level, and there’s a good chance the end result of this public power struggle/punishment will be an injury to Haynesworth.

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way.

Albert Haynesworth is a big, pampered, spoiled, underachieving baby.  He got his $21 million roster bonus in April, blew off mini-camp and somewhere along the way criticized his team’s new defense.  Unfortunately for Haynesworth, Daniel Snyder finally had hired a coach with a set of cojones in Mike Shanahan. And even though he hasn’t expressly come out and said the words, what Shanahan is in effect saying is, “F@*& you fat boy, I’m the boss here.”

This is a bad situation and it’s probably going to get worse. Haynesworth is wrong, and Shanahan is right to assert power as being in control of the team.  But that’s where Shanahan stops being right. 

Using the 300-yard shuttle runs to assess Haynesworth’s fitness level is as relevant as having him engage in a 2-mile run, an all-you-can-eat hamburger competition or having a quarterback perform maximum repetitions of dead lifts.  It would be ludicrous to measure a distance runner’s fitness level by having him perform a maximum lift in the squat.

Having Haynesworth perform repeated repetitions of the 300-yard shuttle is just as ludicrous. I am not a Redskin fan or a Haynesworth apologist. And as I said earlier, there’s a very good chance Haynesworth isn’t in appropriate shape for a professional athlete of his caliber.  But there’s a right way and a wrong way to assess an athlete’s fitness level, and in Albert’s case the 300-yard shuttle ain’t it.

Legendary athletic development coach Vern Gambetta has said that one workout can’t make an athlete, but one workout can break an athlete.  The Redskins could punish Haynesworth, make an example of him and even make him look foolish if they wanted to, by devising an appropriate way to evaluate his fitness.

Linemen don’t run 300 consecutive yards, they don’t run for 60 seconds without stopping.  They don’t sprint in a straight line and they rarely sprint for 25-yards. So using a test that combines these elements in an attempt to assess fitness is foolish.  Albert Haynesworth may not be in football shape, but until the Redskins come up with a better test we won’t know for sure.



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