Haynesworth has McNabb in his corner

Donovan McNabb (AP/Alex Brandon)

Albert Haynesworth gets better reviews from coach Mike Shanahan and counts QB Donovan McNabb among his supporters. Is is possible things are finally starting to look better for the Redskins defensive lineman?

Maybe things are finally starting to get better for Albert Haynesworth in Washington.

For one thing, he has Donovan McNabb in his corner. For another, it's possible that Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan might actually be starting to like his unhappy defensive lineman. On Monday, he actually said Haynesworth is "getting better."

That qualifies as big news given Haynesworth's drama-filled summer in Redskins training camp. Any notion that he might be deactivated Sunday for the season-opener against the Dallas Cowboys, which NFL.com's Jason La Canfora last week suggested might occur, can now be dismissed.

McNabb, speaking on weekly radio show on ESPN in Washington, said it should not be assumed that it's Albert against the world.

"Albert is one of our brothers in the locker room," McNabb said. "He understands, ‘Hey, I got to put the time and effort in.' We can't win without him. I think he'll be here. I hope he'll be here."

Meanwhile, Shanahan disputed reports that claimed Haynesworth's performance last Thursday against the Arizona Cardinals was "awful," according to team sources. Haynesworth played in 49 of 55 snaps, mostly against reserves, but Shanahan said he saw improvement.

"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," Shanahan said, according to the Washington Post. "It doesn't happen overnight. He played a lot of plays. I thought he did a good job, considering he played as many plays as he did 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."

Even so, Haynesworth isn't expected to start against the Cowboys. But he did line up with the first and second units in practice Monday, so that's progress.

For a guy who didn't show up for offseason workouts and appeared not to be in shape when he reported for camp, perhaps things are finally starting to look up.

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