Haynesworth embraces the 'Patriot Way'


Haynesworth embraces the 'Patriot Way'

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard

FOXBORO -- According to the man himself, his name is now Albert thePatriot.

Hes New Englands newest defensive lineman, and he comeswith plenty of luggage. Only, according to him, now that hes a Patriot thatluggage is all in the past.

Tuesday marked Haynesworths second day of practice with theteam at Gillette Stadium. Afterwards, he spoke with the media for the firsttime since being acquired by New England in a trade with the WashingtonRedskins late last week.

And it didnt take him long to buy into The Patriot Way.

Everything is in the past, said Haynesworth. Im leavingall that stuff back in Washington. Right now, Im just concentrating on beingjust a great football player for this organization.

Haynesworth said hes always been a fan of Bill Belichickand the entire Patriots organization. So much so, that he took a ticket fromRodney Harrison, and was present at Gillette Stadium for the 2007 AFCChampionship game against the San Diego Chargers.

He also said hes secretly made a bunch of trips to NewEngland in the past, because his best friend is a New England native. His lovefor the area and the organization has him excited for a fresh start to showthat he can still play football.

A new team, a great organization, said Haynesworth. Ivebeen a fan of this team for a long time, when I wasnt playing them. But Ivealways liked the Patriots.

Ive always liked Coach Belichick, just the way he didthings, the way his teams performed. From being outside, just the way hehandled the team and everything. And now being inside, hes very detailoriented, and he demands perfection every time.

Ive been on some really good teams, with a lot of greatplayers, but Ive never been in a situation where its like, perfection everytime, added Haynesworth. Not for a person, but for a team.

Haynesworth first found out about the trade as a textmessage from his agent woke him up. His reaction?

Hell, yeah, said Haynesworth.

Its a move he originally talked with Vince Wilfork aboutseveral years ago at the Pro Bowl, and a move that he once again talked to hisagent about before he was actually traded out of Washington. He just neverthought the numbers would match up.

I went to the Pro Bowl with Vince, said Haynesworth. Andthe funny thing is, when we were at the Pro Bowl, I said, Man, what if we wereon the same team? He said, That would be crazy, but no way thats going tohappen.

But two or three years later, here we are.

Haynesworth was adamant that he leave his luggage in thepast, or at least, in Washington.

Hes now focused on getting his legs back underneath him,and eventually thriving under his current role on New Englands defensive line,which he somewhat jokingly said, is to just kill the quarterback.

The Patriots hope he can be a dominant force on thedefensive line, especially while working next to Wilfork.

Thats gonna be scary, said Haynesworth, when asked aboutlining up next to each other. Thats gonna be scary for other teams.

Good for Haynesworth to point out that his presence on NewEnglands defensive line will be scary for other teams and not their own.Because it sure sounds like Haynesworth has something to prove.

Its going to be awesome, he said. I enjoy being here.Its a refresher and I love it. Its kind of revived me, playing footballagain.

That was Belichicks plan all along.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Felger: Broncos’ Elway and Kubiak the only NFL braintrust close to the Patriots


Felger: Broncos’ Elway and Kubiak the only NFL braintrust close to the Patriots

Before I make the following point, I'd like to make one thing clear to my sensitive readers: I do not believe the Denver Broncos are better than Patriots. I do not believe they have “passed'' the Pats. Please, Patriots fans, when New England goes into Denver and wins on Dec. 18 and/or the Pats beat them again in the playoffs, save your emails and calls. Don't get your panties in a bunch. You're still the best.

However, as we assess the pathetic state of brainpower across the NFL, the Broncos are one of only a few teams that deserve mention alongside the Pats. Perhaps they're the only one.  As their recent handling of their quarterback situation shows, especially from a coaching standpoint, Gary Kubiak and John Elway have proven they know what they're doing -- and how many teams in the league can you say that about?

In Denver, Brock Osweiler actually looked like a quarterback with a future. In Houston, he barely looks like he belongs in the league. That's about coaching, scheme and culture. It seems that somewhere between the silly letterman jackets in Houston and his second crack in Denver, Kubiak got a clue. Last year, he managed Osweiler to a 5-2 record before sitting him and somehow winning a Super Bowl behind the noodle-armed Peyton Manning. This year, he has another marginal talent, Trevor Siemian, off to a 5-1 start in his first season under center.

There are many NFL coaches who didn't hit their stride until their second job, and you have to wonder if Kubiak falls in this camp. I actually saw him put down his playsheet with his offense on the field the other night and thought, maybe he's starting to get it. He looked more like a head coach and just a little less like an offensive coordinator. 

Either way, Kubiak has displayed an excellent touch with a string of mediocre quarterbacks. And from the original decision to shut down Manning, to the insertion of Osweiler, to the reinstatement of Manning, and then the ultimate handing of the job to Siemian, he and Elway have pushed all the right buttons. If Paxton Lynch turns into a player down the road, look out.

Of course, Kubiak hasn't had much to do with his defense, which has been the domain of Elway, the architect, and to a lesser extent, Wade Phillips, the coordinator. Elway remains one of the few executives to build a championship team largely through free agency, and some of his moves have been so cold-hearted, so debated at the time, that only Bill Belichick could relate.

Who else fires a coach who led you to four division titles and a Super Bowl berth (John Fox), and then follows that up with a title? Who else lets go of BOTH quarterbacks who led you to a title and follows that up with a division lead?

It's moves like those that led ESPN to display a stat montage late in the game on Monday depicting Elway as ``the Don.'' (Wonder where they got that idea from?). Think about it.  Who else in the league -- what coach, executive or owner -- gets that kind of ``mastermind'' treatment? I don't think anyone else deserves it other than Belichick and, in second place, Elway. Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore would be a distant third; or perhaps Pete Carroll and John Schneider in Seattle deserve mention.

Regardless, as the ESPN graphic showed, the Broncos' record since Elway took over in 2011 is now 63-24, second in the league over that time only to the Pats (67-20). Denver is also one of just four teams to make the playoffs every year during his tenure (the Packers, Pats and Bengals are the others). Like the Pats and Seahawks, he's been to two Super Bowls and won one. And like the Pats, he has won his division five straight years.  

Perhaps that all comes to an end this year, and it sure looks like Denver will be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to earning home field over the Pats come December. But for now, in a league where there are no equals to Belichick, it's almost refreshing (to me, anyway) to consider someone who at least belongs in the conversation. 

Email Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN New England.


Belichick: A lot of teams around the league are 'kind of reluctant to trade'


Belichick: A lot of teams around the league are 'kind of reluctant to trade'

FOXBORO -- It's not easy to pull off trades in the NFL around the deadline. Just look at how many are completed in the final days leading up to the deadline every year. Yet the Patriots have worked two already, and they have until Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. to execute another.

One of the trades they pushed through earlier this week saw them send a sixth-round pick to the Lions in exchange for a seventh-rounder and linebacker Kyle Van Noy. What helped that deal cross the finish line was the relationship between the front offices in Detroit and New England. 

Lions general manager Bob Quinn spent the majority of his professional career working for the Patriots under Bill Belichick, serving most recently as Belichick's director of pro scouting until being named to his current position in Detroit. 

Belichick acknowledged on Wednesday that there are times when having a long-standing relationship with someone can help a trade get done.

"I mean it could, yeah," Belichick said. "I mean, you know, there are a lot of teams that don’t . . . they seem kind of reluctant to trade -- this time of year, especially. But it’s one of those things that came up fairly quickly and just worked out. It wasn’t something we had talked about or anything like that previously. As I said, it kind of came up so we were able to work it out.

"Look, Bob's great to work with. But we made another trade with another team in our conference so if it’s there to be made, it’s there to be made. If it’s not, it’s not."

That other trade saw the Patriots send tight end AJ Derby to AFC rival Denver in exchange for a fifth-round pick. 

Belichick doesn't seem to care much about who he's trading with -- "We’re trying to make our team better," he said, "that’s what we’re trying to do" -- but because of the league's reluctance to deal, it seems that if the Patriots are looking for help at tight end, along their offensive line, or at pass-rusher, they may be more likely to find it by calling old friends in Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Houston or Atlanta, where former Belichick proteges are now employed.