Belichick: Haynesworth 'really tried'


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."'s Mary Paoletti contributed to this report.

Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots


Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots

Marcus Cannon has had his run as a piñata. The Patriots offensive lineman is a frequent target when things go wrong up front and, usually, he’s deserved it.

A bit of anecdotal evidence? 

Sunday, I tweeted that every time I watched Cannon, he was making another good play.

On cue, about 10 tweets came back at me with variations of “Keep watching him!”

I asked Bill Belichick if he agreed with the layman’s assessment that Cannon’s playing well.

“I think Marcus [Cannon] has done a good job for us for quite a while,” Belichick began. “I mean he’s stepped in for Sebastian [Vollmer] and then last year when Nate [Solder] was out [and he substituted] for Nate. He has played a lot of good football for us.

“We extended our agreement with him off of his rookie contract which I think speaks to the fact that we want him on the team and we like what he’s doing and so forth and he’s continued to I’d say show with his performance [that he has] validated the confidence that we have in him.”

Cannon’s ending to 2015 – a poor performance (along with the rest of the line) against the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game was followed by a performance against the Cardinals that was marred by late-game holding calls.

But with Sebastian Vollmer injured (and still injured) it was sink or swim with Cannon which had plenty of people rolling their eyes.

But – as I said – every time I see Cannon, he’s either holding off a defensive end in pass protection, steamrolling downfield in the running game or making really athletic second-level or cut blocks in the screen game.

“Like every player, as they gain more experience they do get better,” said Belichick. “I think our offensive line’s certainly improved over the course of the year and playing with more consistency than we did last year. But there’s always room for improvement and the continuity that we’ve had there since (right guard) Shaq [Mason] has gotten in the last few weeks – we had Shaq over on the right side a little bit at the end of the season last year and then this year most all of the year except when Shaq was out for a few weeks there at the end of training camp and the start of the season – but our overall consistency and communication on the offensive line has been better because we’ve had more continuity there so that helps everybody.”

It can’t hurt that the lineman whisperer, Dante Scranecchia, has returned to coach the group. Cannon’s conditioning and physique looks better. He just appears more athletic and explosive. And he’s seemed more relaxed in the limited time the media’s in the locker room.

All off that added up equals nobody really talking about Marcus Cannon.
“Like any lineman, the less you call his name probably the better he’s doing,” said Belichick. “It’s probably a good thing when you guys don’t talk about him. Then that probably means they’re not doing something too noticeably wrong, right?”