- Bruce Allen said that the Redskins have yet to make a determination on the futures of Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth. (Photo: Associated Press)
Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen today addressed local beat writers for the first time since OTAs of last year and said that he believes the team is headed in the right direction, but he refused to weigh in on the futures of his two highest-profiled players, quarterback Donovan McNabb and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.
“Those decisions will come, in time,” Allen said when asked about McNabb. “I’ve had conversations with [McNabb’s agent] Fletcher [Smith], and basically those conversations I’m going to keep between us, and basically we’re going to evaluate the team, evaluate the quarterbacks, the running backs, and all of those decisions will come.”
Allen and executive vice president/head coach Mike Shanahan last April acquired McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a second-round pick in last year’s draft and the fourth-round pick in this year’s draft. But McNabb endured a rocky first season in Washington, was benched with less than two minutes left in the Week 8 game against Detroit, and then got the hook again for the final three games of the season and was demoted to third-string quarterback for the final two outings.
Smith, has criticized both Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for his client’s lack of success and has said that the quarterback cannot remain in Washington the way things stand. It is believed that the Redskins will either trade or release McNabb despite paying a hefty price against their future.
But Allen isn’t ready to admit that the Redskins made a mistake in acquiring the quarterback.
“When we made the decision to trade for Donovan, I think based on what we knew and what we were looking at, I think it was the right decision,” Allen said. “I think how we perform in the future will determine that.”
Mike Shanahan said at the conclusion of the season that he expected to meet with Smith at some point in regards to McNabb’s future. The quarterback and his agent have both said they want a quick resolution to the matter. But Allen didn’t indicate whether or not the team is operating under a self-imposed deadline.
Haynesworth also wants out of Washington after his season also ended poorly. After roughly a nine-month long battle with Shanahan regarding the two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman’s unwillingness to play in the 3-4 scheme, Haynesworth was suspended for the final four games of the season, and the dispute that he filed with the players union against the Redskins in an attempt to recoup the roughly $847,000 of garnished wages remains unsettled.
Haynesworth’s relationship with Shanahan deteriorated to the point that the player told Allen on Dec. 6 that he would no longer be speaking with the head coach. That was the tipping point and prompted the suspension.
On Jan. 3 at the completion of his suspension, Haynesworth reported to Redskins Park for a mandatory end of the year physical, but didn’t speak with Shanahan.
Despite the terrible relationship, however, Allen refused to declare Haynesworth’s days in Washington over. It’s expected that the team will look to part ways with him, but Allen said both sides need more time before any sort of determination can be made.
Allen acknowledged that the Redskins could have parted ways with Haynesworth last offseason as soon as it was made known that he didn’t want to be with the team, but he said no move was made because management was hopeful that they could find a way to take advantage of Haynesworth’s talents despite the conflict.
Allen said that thinking has not changed.
“We were hopeful that he was going to help the team win, and we remain helpful that he can help the team win,” Allen said. “Obviously, we went through a difficult time with the suspension, but when we make those decisions, we understand that there’s a human being involved besides just the player, and hopefully if we give it some time to breathe, we can come back with a fresh outlook on the situation. … He’s extremely talented, and let’s take a look at it at a later time. The emotions are still fresh.”
Allen was asked about a number of issues, and he touched briefly on them.
> On the lack of a CBA for the coming year and a potential lockout, Allen said that the Redskins are operating business as usual, evaluating their own talent, evaluating players schedule to be free agents and preparing for the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl to scout draft prospects so that way they’ll be ready to make moves in the draft as well as free agency, whenever the new CBA is agreed to. The draft will proceed regardless of whether there is a new CBA, and then free agency will follow whenever one is reached, but Allen said it won’t make things
> Whenever a CBA is agreed to and teams have the green light to sign free agents, Allen said he does expect the Redskins to be aggressive players. “We’ve always been aggressive,” Allen said. “Talking about history, the Redskins have been aggressive in free agency, starting with John Riggins.”
> On progress that he noticed this year, Allen said, “We worked on the infrastructure a lot of what this Redskins team can be and I can’t tell you how happy I am about the attitude of the football team..” He also cited the amount of young players that emerged and earned playing time this past season as reasons for optimism.
> Allen dismissed the notion that the Redskins had a higher amount of drama than most teams, and said that instead, they just experienced growing pains that he believed were to be expected because of the hiring of a new coaching staff and a high amount of roster turnover. “It was much like a family, or new roommates getting used to living with one another,” Allen said.
> On instability at the quarterback position, Allen said that was nothing new. “To say that we never had a quarterback controversy before, excuse me, we had Sonny vs. Billy and that was a pretty dramatic one with beeping horns. That occurs anywhere that you have a passionate fan base. We’ve made some progress. We’re not where the Redskins have been in the past, but we made progress.” It was pointed out to Allen that McNabb’s benching, his agent blasting the team and Rex Grossman’s audition were entirely different from Jurgensen vs. Kilmer, but the GM said “technology has changed.”
> On the impending free agencies of cornerback Carlos Rogers and wide receiver Santana Moss, Allen was non-committal, and said that evaluations are ongoing.
> Defensive end/linebacker Andre Carter said he doesn’t expect the team to pick up the $4.75 million option on his contract because of his struggles to fit in the 3-4 defense. That would make him a free agent. But Allen declined to comment one way or the other on Carter’s future.
> Allen was asked about Clinton Portis’ future with the team but he declined to weigh in on that matter as well. He did say, “He’s going to get healthy. I really enjoyed meeting him this year. He’s a tough competitor and I really enjoyed meeting him this year.”
> Allen praised Mike Shanahan for having “a good vision for 2010,” but at the same time, he “never lost sight of down the road,” and that every move Shanahan made had the current season and future in mind.
> Allen said the Redskins are reviewing options that would enable them to have an indoor practice facility. He wouldn’t put a timetable on the beginning or completion of the facility’s construction, but he did say that they are looking to build a long-term facility rather than a temporary bubble. Asked if it mean the Redskins are considering moving team headquarters, Allen said, “We’re reviewing our options.”