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Voluntary Team Workouts Start Today

Yes it’s that time of year again, the earliest beginnings of team preparation for the 2010 season comes in the form of voluntary conditioning at the Redskins training facility… and for some reason or another the blogosphere is abuzz with wonderment.  Everyone seems to be wondering whether Clinton Portis or Albert Haynesworth will be joining the rest of the team today. Or whether participation will fall below the 100% mark.

Hang on, reality check.  When was the last time there was 100% participation for an off-season voluntary workout?  Comment if you can find out, because I can’t for the life of me find that answer… and I’m pretty damn good with Google.

But I’m scratching my head about something else here this morning too, where did this expectation come from again?  Mike Shanahan himself:

“I want my leaders to be here, and hopefully we’ll have 100 percent participation. If not, I’ll be disappointed.”

There are many ways to think about this expectation — and as far as team leaders go I think this message is warranted, necessary, reasonable, and understandable.  As far as expectations for the Redskins’ leaders goes though, it might be unattainable.

Who is a leader on this team?  Is it obvious?  Both through words off and on the field, and actions off and on the field as well?

Is Clinton Portis truly a leader?  LaVar Arrington doesn’t think so.

Is Albert Haynesworth a leader? He himself has shirked that responsibility.

But these are the very men that have come into question as to whether or not they will be present this morning, working out voluntarilly with their team — setting the right examples as leaders.

Call it what you want, but there seems to be a disconnect with expectations and reality on this one. But nevertheless, and as I said before… the message from the top was loud and clear.  Take ownership, take responsibility, and handle your role on this 2010 Redskins team. That message alone brings Shanahan’s stock way up in my book, however unreasonable this same demand has been perceived in the past.

Of course, only time will tell  if the hard nosed strategy has worked or not, but in any case this team will have unquestionably identified who is a leader, and who isn’t. And whether this team can be led to victory.

Right now as it stands, we know for sure that the new head coach is most certainly a leader who knows how to win. We’ll see whether or not the rest of the team will step up and own it.


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