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Once again, the Patriots have rolled the dice and picked up a talented player who has had problems on and off the field. We saw how it worked out with Corey Dillon and Randy Moss; now the Pats hope it works again with former Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth.
At his best, Albert Haynesworth is a powerful, massive lineman, weighing in at 335 lbs, who commands double teams but can still put pressure on the QB. We saw his last two years in Tennessee when he recorded 14.5 sacks and was named to back-to back all-pro teams. This is what led the Washington Redskins to sign Haynesworth to a 7-year $100 million contract.
But, his last two seasons in Washington are the reasons why Haynesworth is a gamble. His first year there was a disappointment production-wise, as Haynesworth recorded only 4 sacks. But real problems arose when Haynesworth questioned the scheme of defensive coordinator Greg Blache after a blowout loss to the Giants, suggesting he wouldn’t play another season if the system didn’t change.
Last season Haynesworth was a problem the entire year, consistently showing up late for practice and clashing with his coaching staff. This led to coach Mike Shanahan suspending him the last 8 games of the season for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
The Patriots get Haynesworth for a bargain: just a 2013 5th round pick. And while they have to pick up the rest of his contract, the Redskins have already paid for most of it, and he will only be making $5.4 million this year. The problem with this trade is that Haynesworth has yet to show that he can play in a 3-4 defense, the base defense he played with in Washington, and the base defense of the Patriots. The Patriots are more creative in their defense than the Redskins, and they should be better at putting Haynesworth in positions where he is most effective.
Also, the fact that he is on a better team and defense should help; he was first outspoken with his distaste for Washington’s scheme after a blowout loss. But the fact that Haynesworth has always struggled in a 3-4 defense is what makes this trade a bigger gamble than Corey Dillon or Randy Moss.