Haynesworth looks for bigger contribution

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Haynesworth looks for bigger contribution

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - In his first regular-season game with the Patriots, Albert Haynesworth played more downs than he had in any game since last Halloween. According to Ryan O'Halloran of CSNWashington, Haynesworth was in for 37 snaps against the Lions last October 31. He played 32 of 76 plays for the Patriots on Monday night. Haynesworth played in just eight games for the 'Skins last year because of differences with his boss. According to O'Halloran, he played 17 of 75 (Dallas), 25 of 79 (St. Louis), 33 of 74 (Eagles), 33 of 63 (Bears), 37 of 76 (Lions), 25 of 62 (Eagles), 14 of 54 (Titans), 20 of 64 (Vikings).On Wednesday, Haynesworth said he felt fresh as an oversized daisy thanks to the defensive line rotation. "It helped a lot," he acknowledged. "I don't think the heat and humidity bothered any of us at all. It didn't bother me. But the rotation was great."Haynesworth still sees significant room for improvement against San Diego. "We got to play a lot better than what we did in Miami as a defensive front," he insisted. "We got ot be a lot better, especially up front. I can only talk about what we do as (the front). Personally, I think we let 'em score too many points and get too many yards. Once we figure out that and keep playing hard and getting after the quarterback we'll be all right."Asked to specify what he needed to do better, Haynesworth explained. "Staying consistent. I gotta cut out some of my mental errors and trust in it and I'll be more effective."Haynesworth's power and ability to disrupt wereapparent. He had two tackles but also drew two holding calls. Drawing penalties is tremendously underrated. Think about it - he forced Miami back 20 yards total and had two stuffs at the defensive line. Still, he noted that it's not yet second nature for him. "When you're in a scheme for a long time, it's automatically given what you're gonna do," He noted."When you come to a new scheme it's a little bit of thinking. What I have to do is believe in it because, even though its a different word that we use, it's still the same technique and (I need) to get after it."

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Whalen, part of Colts' infamous fake punt play, settles in with Patriots

Whalen, part of Colts' infamous fake punt play, settles in with Patriots

FOXBORO – Griff Whalen was at the epicenter of one of the stupidest, funniest, most “did that just happen?!” plays in NFL history.

So indescribable it never even really earned a name, it was the fourth-down gadget play the Colts tried to run against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football in the first meeting between the teams after Indy ran to the principal’s office to start Deflategate. 

Whalen was the center on that play (I tried to call it “Fourth-and-Wrong” but it didn’t take) and the millisecond between him snapping the ball and the three players processing that the ball had indeed been snapped is perhaps my favorite moment of the past several seasons. 

Whalen is a Patriot now, brought in this week in the wake of Danny Amendola’s knee injury presumably to fill Amendola’s role as a punt returner and wideout. The Colts released him last January, the Dolphins picked him up and cut him at the end of training camp and the Chargers had him on their roster from mid-September until releasing him last month after eight games, two catches and 22 yards. He returned kickoffs for San Diego but no punts since 2015.

The primary area of need for the Patriots is on punt returns. Rookie Cyrus Jones’ transition to appearing comfortable remains glacially slow. It was Jones’ muff last week that brought on Amendola in relief. When Amendola hurt his ankle on a late-game return, the Patriots were forced to decide between Jones, wideout Julian Edelman (who doesn’t need extra work) and making a move.

Whalen is a move they made.

The slight and baby-faced Whalen indicated he had fielded some punts in practice, saying it went, “Fine.” Punt returns are something he’s done “since I was a kid.”

His first impression of the team was, "A lot of what I expected to see. A lot of detail. A lot of effort in practice. Good coaching all-around. I am excited to be here. I was excited to come into a good team that I’d gone against a few times. Hopefully come in and help out the team with whatever I can.”

I asked Whalen if he saw much of the commentary or creativity last year’s failed play spawned.

“I wasn’t paying too much attention,” he said. “When it’s during the season guys are pretty locked in on what they’re doing inside the building. But I heard more about it later on afterwards.”

Asked if he’d heard anything about the play since being here, Whalen replied, “I haven’t. Kinda was [expecting it].”

The Patriots will be hoping Whalen remains as productive for them on fourth down this year as he was in 2015.

 

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

CBS interviewed Patriots coach Bill Belichick and 1960 Heisman winner Joe Bellino from Navy as part of its Army-Navy Game coverage Saturday.

Belichick's father, Steve, was an assistant coach at Navy when Bellino played there, and little Bill, then 7, took it all in. So much so, that 57 years later, Belichick can still diagram the 27 F Trap play that his dad used to drew up in the 1959 season for Bellino.

More from NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk here.