Albert Haynesworth admits his 320-pound frame is built to play football, not run sprints, which made the opening of Washington Redskins minicamp Friday a welcome departure from conditioning for the offseason’s free agent prize.
“It’s a lot better to be on the field doing football stuff instead of running [100-yard sprints],” he said. “My body is not made to run 100s.”
Haynesworth’s body is made to stuff running backs and sack quarterbacks, which is why the Redskins signed him to a seven-year contract ($41 million guaranteed) in the early hours of Feb. 27.
Haynesworth was one of 116 players on the field for two workouts, but nobody wore pads and veterans Santana Moss, London Fletcher and James Thrash and second-year receiver Malcolm Kelly were limited.
What his new teammates and coaches already recognize is Haynesworth’s knowledge of the defensive tackle position, his quick first step and, most of all, his size. And they have attached what they feel are proper nicknames.
“He’s just a big load,” coach Jim Zorn said.
“A giant. The only person bigger than him is [404-pound] Mike Williams,” cornerback Fred Smoot said.
“I saw him get a big push up the middle, and he almost ran me over,” quarterback Jason Campbell said. “I had to look up for a second and I was like, ‘It’s the Jolly Green Giant.’ ”
What took Haynesworth by surprise is how he’s not by far the largest player. Also on the field are Anthony Montgomery (315 pounds), Derrick Dockery (335), Renaldo Wynn (296) and Phillip Daniels, who arrived at 6-4, 276.
“We have a lot of big guys and we can all move,” Haynesworth said. “Phillip Daniels - that guy is huge. I’ve never seen anybody that big. You’ll see a lot of different stuff. You’ll see us in the backfield and freeing up the linebackers to make a lot more plays.”
Defensive coordinator Greg Blache said the expectations this weekend are the same for Haynesworth as the other players.
“It’s what I want to see from everybody else - that they can line up, get to the football, learn their assignments, learn their alignment, learn to communicate and learn to be a part of the defense,” Blache said.
The Redskins hope Haynesworth can join the rest of the defensive line and maintain a top run-stopping ranking (eighth last year) but improve the pass rush, which was 27th out of 32 teams in sacks per attempt.
The Redskins’ 13 interceptions were tied for the 13th-fewest in the NFL.
“When you don’t have a lot of sacks, you don’t have a lot of turnovers, because they go hand in hand,” Smoot said. “A quarterback in this league won’t make mistakes if they’re not under duress. Hopefully they won’t get that clear path to shoot BBs, like they did last year.”