Haynesworth: Time for 'sleeping giant' to awake

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Haynesworth: Time for 'sleeping giant' to awake

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO --Albert Haynesworth wasnt happy with his situation inWashington the last two seasons. Thats no secret.

But as Mondays regular-season opener in Miami nears for thePatriots, everyone in the football world is ready to see what Haynesworth willbring to New Englands defensive line this season.

Hes pretty clear on what he wants to do.

I think its time for me, and for the sleeping giant toawake, and to go back out there on the field and play football again, said Haynesworthin front of his locker at Gillette Stadium, prior to Thursdays practice.

A pretty powerful comment, to say the least.

At 6-foot-6, 350 pounds, Haynesworth is a giant. And for thelast two seasons, hes felt like hes been a non-factor.

So to hear him call for the sleeping giant to awake withno sense of comedy attached to it, is quite a statement, just days away fromhis first meaningful game with the Patriots.

Haynesworth said that hes still a little bit rusty andthat he still has some work to do, in order to get where he wants to be. Butthat doesnt mean there hasnt been improvement by the day.

Maybe the fact that hes improving isnt a surprise. Maybeits the fact that the past two seasons havent allowed for many football fansand critics to buy into the fact that hes willing to put in the time to makethose improvements.

On a day in which the Patriots chose six captains for theseason, Haynesworth described his hard work as a product of the familyenvironment in the Patriots locker room.

For two years, I was kind of taken out of football a littlebit, and now Im back in it, and am truly enjoying the game again, and trulyenjoy coming in to practice and coming in to work every day, said Haynesworth.Just to be able to have the chance again to play and to show what I can do, isawesome.

Its not like the last two years, he said. That was alittle different. The captains or whatever were almost above the team inWashington. Here, with Mayo and Vince, you can go up and talk to those guys.

Thats not saying you couldnt do that in D.C., but here,its really like a family in the locker room. Everybodys for you. No matterwhat happens, say that guy does something or whatever, it doesnt matter, wereall behind him. Were not going to pass judgment or anything like that. Itsall about everybody being for you, and everybody having your back.

And when that sleeping giant awakes, it sounds like hesalso going to have theirs.

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

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

FOXBORO -- The highly-anticipated first Patriots injury report of the week was released on Wednesday afternoon, and it was fairly predictable. 

Both injured quarterbacks were active but limited in their practice participation, the report indicated. That comes as little surprise as both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) were spotted throwing passes early in Wednesday's practice. Neither appeared to be experiencing any significant discomfort as they made their warm-up throws. 

Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) were also limited. Gronkowski admitted that the team was taking it slow with him in his first game back on the field last week -- he played just 14 snaps in New England's win over Houston -- but he said on Wednesday that he hoped to go "freakin' crazy" on the field soon.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Charles Clay (knee)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo spoke Wednesday for the first time since getting his shoulder separated by the Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso. Standing by his locker, Garoppolo was predictably vague about the status of his arm, unless you consider, “Getting better day by day,” as being insightful. 

The only two responses offered that were worth a damn came when asked if he could have done anything different when he got squished by Alonso while retreating and buying time.  

“Just have to be smart I guess,” said Garoppolo. “I mean, it’s football and stuff’s gonna happen like that, but have to be smart in those situations.”

Asked if he regretted holding the ball as long as he did on a third-down play with the Patriots up 21-0, Garoppolo replied, “After it’s all said and done it’s easy to say that, but it’s one of those things, you’re in the heat of the game. But bottom line I have to be smarter than that.”

Agreed.  

Meanwhile, as he worked last week to get back for Thursday night’s game against Houston, The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots were “putting pressure” on Garoppolo to be ready for the game. Working hard to get key players ready for upcoming games is standard operating procedure for a medical staff. Trying to force a player to perform is not. 

I asked Garoppolo if he felt unduly pressured. He replied, “No.”