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DeAngelo Hall: Mike Shanahan micromanaged Jim Haslett

Jim-Haslett-RedskinsThe Washington Redskins had one of the worst defenses in the league in 2013. The 29.9 points per game they allowed was tied for 30th in the league. The two years prior were not much better, as the Skins finished in the bottom 10 in the league in 2011 and 2012. DeAngelo Hall believes Mike Shanahan was part of the problem.

During an interview with ESPN 980′s “Inside the Locker Room” on Wednesday, Hall claimed that Shanahan — who is known as an offensive-minded coach — kept defensive coordinator Jim Haslett from doing his job by “micromanaging” him at times.

“Defensively man, I just feel like we played so bad last year, we’ve got some unfinished business to definitely take care of,” Hall said, as transcribed by DC Sports Bog. “I’m excited after talking to Haslett about the possibility of him being able to just run his defense without anybody in his ear telling him what to call or what not to call. So I’m really excited to see Haz unleash his full arsenal of play calls.”

When one of the hosts mentioned that Haslett could have been better if given more freedom, Hall had no problem calling Shanahan out by name.

“I mean, (Haslett has) been in this league for so long for a reason,” he said. “It’s not because he’s the best-looking guy; it’s because he can call plays and have a great defense. No disrespect to Mike Shanahan, he’s a great coach, but he liked to micromanage things. He kind of liked his hands on everything.

“Jay [Gruden's] kind of like, ‘Look, I’m gonna let Haz kind of do his thing. Obviously if I see something that I feel like as an offense we can stop or we can’t stop, I’ll definitely let him know, give him a heads-up on some things to help us get better as team. But Haz is going to get to do what he does.’”

Hall added that he was also held back as a player by being told to play his position a certain way. Bottom line? It’s easy to blame Shanahan for the team’s struggles now that he is gone. If Washington’s defense stinks again in 2014, we’ll know he wasn’t the only issue.

Former Redskins CB Fred Smoot: Jim Haslett is pig-headed, killing the team

As good as the Washington Redskins have been on offense this season, they have been equally bad defensively. Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris have provided a major spark, but the Redskins are allowing over 28 points and 400 yards of total offense per game — statistics that put them in the bottom five in the NFL.

When discussing Washington’s 27-12 loss to the Steelers on 106.7 The Fan’s postgame show Sunday, former Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot ripped defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.

“Jim is, I think, an average coordinator right now,” Smoot said according to D.C. Sports Bog. “He might not have the players he wants. But I also think he’s so pig-headed right now, he’s gonna continue to run his style of defense, even though it’s killing the team.

If you were expecting a “no disrespect” after that, Smoot didn’t offer it.

“I’m embarrassed for them,” Smoot said. “Because I used to wear those colors. I wore that on my helmet. I represent that to this day. And I know the one thing we always prided ourselves on was going out there and playing defense the best we could. We might not have been the greatest defense, but we played with our heart on our sleeve, and we went out there and laid it on the line.”

Smoot also called out the Redskins receiving corps for dropping balls and wasn’t buying the excuse that weather was a factor. His criticism may seem harsh, but Fred was a defensive back in the NFL so he certainly knows of what he speaks. Haslett has blamed players in the past for not fitting in with Washington’s defensive scheme, but there is obviously a bigger issue this season. The Redskins are making plays on offense, but they aren’t stopping anyone. That won’t win you many games in the NFL.

Jim Haslett speaks candidly with fan about team plans, conversation ends up on Redskins blog

The information shared in a private conversation between Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and a fan became public when the fan, eager to share his story with friends, wrote about the experience on a blog, forcing the coach to deny their meeting.

Hardcore Redskins fan Rod Denny was staying at a hotel for his daughter’s Hampton Roads volleyball tournament when he saw Jim Haslett hanging out in the hotel’s breakfast room. Denny says he did not want to bother Haslett, but then decided he should say something.

Haslett turned out to be very kind and open, chatting with Denny for about five minutes, even discussing the team’s quarterback plans. A few days later, Denny, who never disclosed that he planned to write about their meeting, wrote a story about the meeting on the Redskins fan site Hogs Haven.

Denny spent two paragraphs providing the background to their meeting and five paragraphs on the information he learned regarding the team’s quarterback plans. Denny wrote about the meeting in a “FanPost,” which is separate from the site’s main page which is more closely monitored by the site’s actual writers and editors.

In his post, Denny shared some inside information, saying that the Redskins were not interested in free agent Matt Flynn, that they were interested in Peyton Manning, and that they were disappointed with the quarterbacks in the draft aside from Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

Not long after Denny’s post was published, Washington Times reporter Rich Campbell called Haslett to ask about the story.

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Jim Haslett: Albert Haynesworth in 3-4 Defense is Square Peg in Round Hole

One of the biggest stories this off-season was Albert Haynesworth’s refusal to appear at off-season activities for the Washington Redskins. The team had paid him a $21 million bonus but Albert was reluctant to participate because he didn’t feel like the team’s switch to a 3-4 defense fit him well. After embarrassing Haynesworth with conditioning drills, the defensive tackle is finally playing with the team and guess what? They’ve admitted the 3-4 defense is not a good fit for him!

“Trying to get him to do the 3-4 stuff was trying to get a square peg into a round hole. We were trying to force the issue,” [defensive coordinator Jim] Haslett said. “Obviously, it hasn’t worked out the way we would like. I still think he can do it, ’cause he’s a good athlete and he is athletic and tough enough to do it. I think he just needs more time doing it. … The good coaches in the league are smart enough to know that you try to get a guy to fit the system, but there’s no reason why you can’t change the system to fit the guy.”

I never agreed with the way Haynesworth handled his business — if he wanted to play in a different system, he shouldn’t have cashed his bonus check. Once he cashed the check, he should have joined the team in workouts and been a model teammate. Still, the Redskins were hurting themselves by dicking Albert around and not using him during games. The big man had a monster game against the Bears this past weekend and is a difference-maker. They’re only hurting themselves by not playing him or getting the defense to fit him better. Now that he’s on the field consistently, Washington is much more of a defensive threat.

Back When Jim Haslett Played Dirty

Jim Haslett was recently hired as the Redskins defensive coordinator, replacing Greg Blache who retired. Haslett reportedly was Mike Shanahan’s second choice behind Mike Zimmer who signed a three-year extension to remain with the Bengals. Haslett is a former head coach of the Saints and interim head coach of the Rams (he replaced Scott Linehan two seasons ago). Now Haslett’s with the Skins and as The Sporting Blog points out via DC Sports Bog, he’ll fit in perfectly with Albert Haynesworth. Check out this video of Jim Haslett stepping on Terry Bradshaw back in the day:

Haslett explained his action by saying that was the only chance the Bills had to win the game. Not sure if that was Haynesworth’s explanation for stomping on Andre Gurode of the Cowboys, but the plays sure are similar. Remember?