Belichick: Haynesworth 'really tried'

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Belichick: Haynesworth 'really tried'

FOXBORO -- A day after defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth was released from the Patriots, coach Bill Belichick explained his decision.

"I thought that both he and myself and the coaching staff, we really tried to make it work," said Belichick. "He had a few physical limitations to overcome when he got here. I thought he really tried to do what we asked him to do. We tried to work with him. In the end, it obviously just didn't work out. The best we can do is just move on."

When asked if physical limitations prevented him from succeeding in New England, Belichick said "No" and pointed out that Haynesworth missed time early in training camp.

When pressed about Haynesworth again, Belichick said, "It's all done with. It's on to the Jets."

For their part, the Jets were never all that concerned with Haynesworth to begin with, according to coach Rex Ryan.

"To be honest with you, our concern wasn't Albert Haynesworth. Whether you believe it or not," Ryan said. "They've got a lot of big guys. Vince Wilfork is the bell cow in that front. And I'd say Andre Carter is a pickup they had and I think he's playing well. Getting Mayo back -- he never played in our first game -- he's a tremendous player. But Haynesworth wasn't . . . it wasn't like we had to know where he was at."

Reaction to Haynesworth's release inside the Patriots' locker room was just as it always is when a player has been cut, big-name player or not.

The overall theme to Wednesday's pre-practice media availability was simple: Trusting in Belichick's decisions, and focusing on the New York Jets.

"That's what coaches do," said veteran running back Kevin Faulk when asked about Haynesworth being released. "We play football. We don't worry about none of that."

Faulk wasn't the only one unwilling to open up on the roster move.

"During the football season, there's always going to be things that are going to happen to the team," said linebacker Rob Ninkovich. "Injuries are a part of it, and roster moves are also a part of it. So you just have to deal with them and you have to move on. So whatever things that happen on the roster, you have to just turn the page on it, and focus on what you have to do, which is your job, on Sunday.

"I think that whatever the staff does, obviously, is for our team to be competitive on Sundays," he added. "So, whatever their decision is, we respect anything that they do. So, come Sunday, you go out there and give your best effort for the team."

Though Belichick said Love's presence on the roster did not factor into the Haynesworth decision, Love -- who admitted he was once excited when the Patriots initially acquired Haynesworth -- does realize more playing time is on the way for him.

As for the message that Haynesworth's release sends him and the rest of the Patriots?

"Just play harder," said Love. "Guys come in and out. It can happen to anybody. So, just play harder. That's all."

CSNNE.com's Mary Paoletti contributed to this report.

Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

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Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

FOXBORO - If Alan Branch is worried about his spot with the Patriots, he isn’t acting that way. A notorious slow starter, Branch played just six snaps in Sunday’s win at New Orleans. And to hear him talk, it’s business as usual.

“It’s not like you can practice 3 technique on a store clerk,” said Branch late Wednesday afternoon. When informed that he probably could if he wanted, Branch smiled and noted “you’d probably get arrested for that.”

All kidding aside, it was stark to see Branch’s ample behind stapled to the bench. He earned a two-year contract this offseason, and his presence on the interior has been critical to the defense’s success. But after getting pushed around a bit too often in that opening night loss to the Chiefs, Branch spent a lot more time watching then playing. Did he know that he wasn’t a big part of the plan?

“That’s another question you gotta ask Bill, man” said Branch. “That’s not something I can talk about.”

Branch has - at times - come off as nonchalant about the game. Wins, losses, big plays, no plays, none of it seems to change his demeanor. Knowing that, I asked him if he was frustrated by his lack of playing time.

“I mean every player wants to be on the field so it is what it is,” he responded. 

Does he think that he’ll be more involved Sunday against the Texans?

“I don’t know what they plan to do with me,” he said. “i just need to go in there and keep my head to the grindstone and work.”

That may be Bill Belichick’s plan: sitting the player to motivate him. It would also seem to be potentially the last resort, and with someone who clearly marches to the beat of his own drum, it’s unclear how he’ll respond.

Patriots-Texans practice report: Gronk sits out; Gilmore limited

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Patriots-Texans practice report: Gronk sits out; Gilmore limited

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Texans game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
RB Rex Burkhead (ribs)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle/concussion)
TE Rob Gronkowski (groin)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Danny Amendola (concussion/knee)
WR Phillip Dorsett (knee)
CB Stephon Gilmore (groin)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
WR Chris Hogan (knee)
LB Elandon Roberts (thumb)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)
DT Vincent Valentine (knee)

HOUSTON TEXANS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
G Jeff Allen (ankle)
CB Kevin Johnson (knee)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
TE Stephen Anderson (concussion)
RB Alfred Blue (ankle)
WR Will Fuller V (shoulder)
CB Jonathan Joseph (shoulder)
G Xavier Su'a-Filo (knee)
DE J.J. Watt (finger)

FULL PARTICIPATION
CB Marcus Burley (knee)
T Chris Clark (wrist)
WR Bruce Ellington (concussion)
TE Ryan Griffin (concussion)