Haynesworth's status for Redskins' season opener unclear

Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth's status remains unknown for Sunday night's season opener against the Cowboys, but coach Mike Shanahan said on Monday that the embattled veteran is making progress.

Shanahan told the The Washington Post that Haynesworth is "getting better."

Shanahan did not go into specifics about Haynesworth's spotty performance in the Redskins' preseason finale against the Cardinals. Instead, he emphasized the need forHaynesworth to catch up with the team physically after missing a large portion of the offseason workouts.

"I don't go through a lot of detail but anytime a person plays the defensive end position and nose position, it takes some time -- it doesn't happen overnight," Shanahan said. "He played a lot of plays; I thought he did a good job, considering he played as many plays as he did do at a couple different positions. And not having the reps some of the other players had at it, it was work that was well needed and he played hard."

Shanahan conceded that Haynesworth was in much better physical condition than he was earlier in camp, but it remains unclear whether the two-time All Pro is in the team's plans for Week 1.

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora has reported that there is still serious doubt about Haynesworth starting and the question remains whether he will even be activated for Sunday's matchup.

On the day Donovan McNabb returned to the practice field, Haynesworth got his reps in with the second team.

Shanahan believes Haynesworth is beginning to adjust to the new techniques needed in a 3-4 front.

"As I said, it's just not the effort, you got to get used to the technique," Shanahan said. "So when you play a couple different positions it's going to be tough, that's just part of it. But he worked hard and made a few mistakes here and there but he's getting better."

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