- The Washington Times - Friday, September 18, 2009

Defensive coordinator Greg Blache said too much is expected of Albert Haynesworth, the All-Pro defensive tackle to whom the Washington Redskins in February gave a guaranteed $41 million - a record for a defensive player.

Haynesworth made just four tackles and registered no sacks or hurries in the Redskins’ 23-17 season-opening loss to the New York Giants on Sunday, but Blache said he wasn’t disappointed.

“He played well… made some plays in the run game, got some pressure at times in the passing game,” Blache said. “They paid a great deal of attention to him, turned the protection to him. He was definitely a factor in the way the game transpired.”

Blache said Haynesworth’s presence wasn’t a big factor in freeing up linebacker London Fletcher to run to the ball and make 18 tackles.

“That’s London doing London’s job and Albert doing Albert’s job,” Blache said. “Albert’s a good player, but let’s not make him King Kong. … [He’s] a good player - a very, very good player - but not Superman.”

Haynesworth did come up big inside the Washington 10, helping keep burly Giants running back Brandon Jacobs out of the end zone.

Brian Orakpo, the rookie strongside linebacker, hardly got noticed in the opener, making just two tackles. Blache said he didn’t expect Orakpo to flash immediately.

“The thing that happened to Brian would happen to any rookie in his first ballgame,” Blache said. “The speed of it is 10 times more than you ever imagined. You play in the preseason and you say, ‘I can play in this league.’ But on Sunday in the opener, the intensity level and the speed is at a whole different dimension.”

Blache expects more from Orakpo this Sunday against St. Louis.

“It’s good that’s out of the way,” Blache said. “Brian’s going to have a great rookie season. … He wasn’t bad last week… [but] he’ll be better this week because he’s been baptized through fire.”

Players prep for lockout

DeMaurice Smith met with the Redskins’ players for more than two hours Wednesday afternoon for the first time since succeeding the late Gene Upshaw as executive director of the NFL Players Association in March.

Smith, a D.C. native and Redskins season-ticket holder, advised the players to save 25 percent of their salaries this season and next in preparation for a potential lockout by the owners in 2011.

“I like him,” said receiver Antwaan Randle El, one of Washington’s alternate player reps. “He’s very intelligent. He understands not just the whole CBA thing but where we’re coming from as players. He wants us to be prepared.”

Alternate player rep Ethan Albright said the NFLPA will devote much of each player’s $15,000 dues and the rights fees for the use of players’ likenesses to an emergency fund that could approach $100 million. The money would be used to meet players’ needs during a lockout.

“It’s very scary what could happen, but I save half of my salary every year because I know this is not forever,” said third-year linebacker H.B. Blades, who still is playing on his less-lucrative rookie contract.

Smith told the players he has not held substantial negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement with commissioner Roger Goodell. Smith and Goodell reportedly will hold a third formal negotiating session later this month.

Practice moved

The threat of an afternoon downpour prompted Zorn to move practice up two hours to 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

“Sorry if we put everybody in a bit of a bind, but we wanted to beat the rain,” Zorn said. “My [crack] Doppler reader said we needed to beat the rain, so we did.”

Zorn said offensive tackle Chris Samuels was held out for a few plays to “give him a little breather on his knee.” Samuels had surgery on his left knee in December.

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