Harrison: Haynesworth got paid and quit


Harrison: Haynesworth got paid and quit

Anybody familiar with the Patriots -- or the NFL for that matter -- knows what type of player Rodney Harrison was.

If he was ever in hot water, it certainly wasn't because he wasn't trying on the field. Quite the contrary, actually. So you can see why he was so disappointed with the way Albert Haynesworth has played -- or hasn't played -- since he cashed in on the Redskins.

Like many people who bought Haynesworth's cheap words when he arrived in New England, Harrison was surprised to see how it ended here with him.

"I thought getting Albert in the offseason, I thought it was actually a good move," Harrison told Tom E. Curran on 'Quick Slants'. "I thought he was going to come in and become a motivated player, get back to what he was earlier in his career in 2003, 2005, 2007 with the Tennessee Titans. I'm very disappointed with Albert. They paid him a lot of money -- not the New England Patriots, the Washington Redskins -- and for a guy to have that type of security, that type of contract, to come out and basically quit, Tom.

"When people look back on Albert Haynesworth's name, they're going to think of him as a guy that was overweight, a guy that quit, a guy that got paid a lot of money, and really went out the wrong way. I'm very disappointed"

"Disappointed" doesn't really begin to describe the feeling fans have regarding Haynesworth. How about "disgusting" for starters? The Pats took a flyer on a guy they thought they could get to. It didn't work. But it has in the past.

"Sometimes you hit gold with certain players," Harrison said. "You go out and you get a guy, you take a chance on Corey Dillon or Rodney Harrison and it pays dividends. Other times you got out and get an Albert Haynesworth and other guys and it doesn't exactly pan out the way you would like."

Haynesworth was just another underperforming member of a Patriots defense that -- going into Week 10 -- is still trying to find its way.

"When you go out and cut guys like Leigh Bodden and Albert Haynesworth, obviously Bill Belichick, he's not happy with the -- he's trying to send a message to the defense," said Harrison.

But it isn't just the defense that hasn't been up to snuff as of late. Over the past three games, the Patriots have not amassed more than 20 points in any of them. Harrison has a few reasons for why this is, and why Tom Brady hasn't looked as sharp this season.

1. The offensive line isn't doing its job: "You have to start with the offensive line. Teams that are good rushing teams that are rushing different stunts, different types of blitzes, they're putting pressure on Tom Brady. The blueprint for beating the Patriots . . . Tight man-to-man coverage, pressure up the middle, and force Brady to his left. Teams are starting to do that and the offensive line is not protecting him."

2. Brady's comfort level isn't right: "Tom, he's staring at his receivers. He doesn't feel comfortable. People are playing tight man-to-man coverage. He's got a 'robber' playing in the middle of the field so when Wes Welker or guys are coming across the middle they have someone there."

3. Brady is trying to do too much to make up for other team voids: "They're pressing. Tom Brady is pressing because he knows that this defense isn't really very good. They're going to give up a lot of points, they're going to give up a lot of yards, and he's putting a lot of pressure on himself to go out there and make plays. So he just needs to relax, they need to run the football, but they have to, more important than anything, they have to protect Tom.

The Patriots are losers of two in a row. The Jets are playing their best football of the season, and look for revenge against the Patriots at home. Still, Harrison thinks the Patriots are going to snap out of their recent funk and get back on track with a win. That is, if they do the necessary things to win.

"I really believe they rebound in this situation," Harrison said. "The Jets are playing pretty good football. To go on the road up in a hostile environment in Buffalo and to win that football game. Buffalo, they have a very explosive offense. I was impressed with that. I think the Patriots go up there -- if they establish the run, they can't turn the the ball over like they did in the playoffs last year. I think the Patriots win this football game."

Belichick: Kickers are like golfers; have to hit driver, sand wedge, 5-iron


Belichick: Kickers are like golfers; have to hit driver, sand wedge, 5-iron

In searching for answers on what might be going on with Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, coach Bill Belichick was asked on Monday if there was any chance that Gostkowski's mechanics on kickoffs may be affecting his field goals. With the new touchback rule encouraging the Patriots to use more "pop-up" kicks to the goal line this season, might Gostkowski's swing have been altered?

Belichick said that the two plays are separate and that the Patriots expect Gostkowski to be able to execute a whole series of different types of kicks as part of his job.

"Well, I think they’re definitely different," Belichick said on a conference call. "I don’t think there’s any question about that. I mean, it would be like a golfer. You’ve got to be able to hit a sand wedge. You’ve got to be able to hit a five-iron. You’ve got to be able to drive. You’ve got to be able to putt.

"That’s what kickers and punters do. There’s plus-50 punts, there’s field goals, there’s kickoffs, there’s backed-up punts, there’s punts against a heavy rush, there’s punts against a six-man box where the gunners both are getting double-teamed. And just like golf, there’s wind conditions and not wind conditions and so forth. So it’s not like like you’re standing out there in a driving range and just banging the ball away every time. Especially on place kicks, you’re dealing with a center and a holder and timing on the play. It’s not like you’re just placing the ball down there on a tee and kicking it like you are a golf ball or a kickoff.

"Yeah, they’re definitely different, and whether it’s a punter or a kicker you’re talking about, they have to master different skills, different kicks, different types of kicks, different things that are specific to their position, just like every other player and every other athlete, for the most part, has to do. If you’re a basketball player, you just can’t shoot free throws. You’ve got to be able to make some other shots, too. That’s part of the position, being able to do the things that are required of that position, and they’re not all the same. I don’t think they’re all the same for anybody."

Belichick was also asked about how Gostkowski is coached. There are position-specific coaches with every NFL franchise, but when it comes to special teams, there is typically a special-teams coordinator and little else. There is no kicking coach, generally, nor a position coach dedicated to punting or snapping. 

Belichick said that he feels the team has enough support in place, starting with special teams coach Joe Judge, in order to help Gostkowski through his difficult stretch.

"I think Joe’s very knowledgable about the techniques of kicking," Belichick said. "I know when I became a special teams coach and coached special teams for many years as an assistant coach, and I continue to be involved with it as a head coach, that’s one of the things I had to learn. I had to learn how to coach those individual specialists, the snappers, the kickers, the punters, the returners. I don’t think it’s any different than coaching any other position. Things you don’t know, you need to learn. The things you do know, you need to be able to teach to the players, however you acquire that information.

"Some of that certainly comes from the players, especially when you coach good players at the position that you’re coaching, you can learn a lot from them, just like I learned a lot from many of the players that I coached. Going back to people like Dave Jennings as a punts or Carl Banks or Lawrence Taylor or Pepper [Johnson], guys like that, as linebackers with the Giants. However you acquire that information, you acquire it and you have to be able to convey it and teach it to the players and recognize technique or judgment.

"There’s a whole host of things that go into performance, but all the things that are related to those; be able to figure out which ones are the most important and which ones need to be corrected and so forth. I think Joe’s very knowledgeable on that, as was Scott O’Brien. I have a lot of experience with that myself. That’s what coaching is. You don’t know, then you’ve got to find out. Nobody knows everything. No coach knows everything about every position. Maybe a guy’s played it for a decade, he might be well-versed in that position. But I’d say for the most of the rest of us that haven’t done that, things you don’t know, you’ve got to learn, you’ve got to find out, you’ve got to figure them out."

Giardi's stopwatch: Brady quick vs. Steelers


Giardi's stopwatch: Brady quick vs. Steelers

How quick was Tom Brady's release in the New England Patriots win over the The Pittsburgh Steelers? Glad you asked. 

On average, Brady took 2.11 seconds to release the ball. That’s not as quick as he was against Cleveland, when averaged 1.86 seconds, but still pretty flippin' quick.

2.05 - Gun. Edelman crosser 9 yards
0.80 - WR screen to Edelman - 2 yards
5.34 - Gun. Flushed. 13 yards to White
2.04 - Gun. Edelman crosser. 6 yards
1.59 - Gun. Screen to White. 19 yards. TD
1.65 - Gun. Edelman at the hash. 9 yards
1.72 - Gun. Edelman crosser. 11 yards
3.17 - Gun. Hogan outside the numbers. 13 yards
2.25 - Play action. Incomplete short left to White
1.24 - Edelman right flat. 6 yards
2.37 - Gun. Deep in to Gronkowski. 13 yards
2.20 - play action. Happy feet, Incomplete to Bennett
2.90 - Gun. Bolden drop
1.53 - Gun. Incomplete to White at the numbers
1.79 — Gun. Edelman crosser. 7 yards
1.36 - Gun. Short right to Blount. 7 yards
1.66 - Gun. Edelman drop 
3rd Quarter
3.44 - Gun. Awful backhanded flip throw. Incomplete to White
2.25 - Gun. Crosser to Bennett. 5 yards
1.39 - Gun. Short right to Edelman. 3 yards
2.18 - Gun. Ground seam. 36 yards. TD
1.59 - Gun. Short middle to Edelman. 11 yards
1.33 - Gronkowski. short right. 7 yards
3.16 - Play action. 37 yards to Gronkowski
3.89 - Gun. Pressure. Incomplete deep left to Mitchell