Curran: Haynesworth just another personnel whiff

Curran: Haynesworth just another personnel whiff
November 8, 2011, 7:57 pm
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Almost two weeks ago, the Patriots heaved their highest-priced cornerback overboard two days before a critical AFC game. Leigh Bodden and his 4 million contract left and the Patriots lost to Pittsburgh.Two days after another Patriots loss, we have another release. Albert Haynesworth, pitched as a low-risk, high-upside acquisition at the end of July, is gone.
Albert's getting canned -- first reported by Ian Rapoport of The Boston Herald --comes less than a day after Bill Belichick's dubious claim that Haynesworth sat the final 24 minutes of Sunday's game because his spot in the rotation never came up. That was a crock. Haynesworth's final play as a Patriots was on a 10-yard Brandon Jacobs touchdown run on which Giants guard David Diehl got Haynesworth turned and -- instead of fighting the block -- Haynesworth tried to swim through it, making the hole for Jacobs to waddle through even larger. There are unconfirmed reports of Haynesworth and defensive line coach Pepper Johnson arguing intensely on the sideline after the play. That argument was said to have been quelled by Jerod Mayo and Bill Belichick. A source told me that, later in the half, Haynesworth approached Belichick to apparently further explain himself and Belichick dismissed him with a wave of his hand. If only Belichick were so easily able to wave away all the problems he's dealing with. The moves the Patriots have made since the end of the lockout have been blunderiffic. Acquiring Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis andChad Ochocinco -- nearly12 million worth of washed-up players. Then banishing Bodden, a move that brings the tally to 16 million. The Patriots released secondary players James Sanders, Brandon Meriweather and Darius Butler -- three guys who were far from All-Pro -- and still have found a way to get worse in pass defense. Go back a little further and see that two of their second-round picks from 2010, Jermaine Cunningham and Ron Brace, are on the field as much as you and I. See that their third-round pick, wideout Taylor Price has caught exactly two passes and played in three games in his career. The Patriots had another third-rounder to screw up in 2010, but they traded a third and a fifth to Oakland for pass-rusher Derrick Burgess. Burgess is now fishing somewhere in Mississippi. I'm sure the Kraft family is quite affluent, but wasting 16 million onnon-performing employees will cause an eyebrow to rise when it comes time to look at budgetary decisions. Haynesworth is far from the worst personnel move of the last few years. But his failure shines a light on the fact Belichick and his personnel caddies swung and missed so badly on what the team could expect from Haynesworth and do as a defense. He was supposed to be a 4-3 beast for the Patriots, buddied up inside with Vince Wilfork, crushing the pocket back in the face of the quarterback where Andre Carter and perhaps Cunningham would clean up with sacks. Hand in the dirt, go kill the quarterback and all that. None of it's really happened. The Patriots continue to be the league's worst defense. And Haynesworth was better than neither Kyle Love nor Gerard Warren. According to ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss, Haynesworth played 133 of 561 snapsin six games. He was inactive for two. He had six tackles. Messages to Haynesworth haven't been immediately responded to.