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Tag:Albert Haynesworth
Posted on: November 19, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 1:38 pm
 

Haynesworth had a nice first week in Tampa

A. Haynesworth had a nice first week in Tampa Bay (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We’ve poked  plenty of fun at Albert Haynesworth’s expense since the Eye on Football blog came into being, because No. 1, that’s what we do and No. 2, Haynesworth has made it so easy.

So, we should point out the positive impact made by Haynesworth in his first week in Tampa Bay because No. 1, we want to be fair and balanced in our coverage of him and No. 2, it’ll be nearly impossible for those good vibes to last.

We know Haynesworth has been lazy and money-hungry and an unwilling team player. But he’s trying to change, because, really, how many chances does he expect to get now that the Redskins and Patriots made a show of wiping their hands of him?

And he actually played well for the Buccaneers last week, making five tackles and blocking an extra point (the latter, especially, requires the sort of effort we rarely see from Haynesworth).

"I wouldn't say it did anything for my confidence because I know what kind of player I was,'' Haynesworth said, via the Tampa Tribune. "When I looked at the film, I saw things I've got to improve on, but playing in this system is almost like getting back to what I did at Tennessee.”

Ah, Tennessee, the place for which he’s apparently longed since he left to sign a gargantuan deal with the Redskins.
Haynesworth's New Home
It was in Tennessee that Haynesworth had his greatest success, in part because of his defensive line coach Jim Washburn. But after he left, Haynesworth has fallen on hard times (on the field and in the legal system).

But now it seems -- and remember, it’s still extremely early in his Tampa Bay tenure -- he’s taken on more of a mentor role.

"Albert's a great guy, almost like a coach around here,'' defensive end Da'Quan Bowers said. "He comes and tells me little things in my ear to try to make me a better player. Everyone seems to think he has a negative attitude, but I haven't seen it. Hopefully, he stays positive and I think he will.''

So, that’s great news for the Buccaneers organization. But is anybody going to be surprised when this deal begins to go south and Haynesworth stops caring and stops putting forth an effort? No. In fact, we’d be more surprised if it doesn’t go south by the end of the season, because No. 1 and No. 2, we’ve seen this show before.



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Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:12 pm
 

Haynesworth spouting same rhetoric as before

HaynesworthPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With Albert Haynesworth’s first practice complete with his new Buccaneers teammates, he told reporters, including the St. Pete Times, "I’m excited. This is where I should have been like, three, years ago. I think all good things come to somebody who waits."

Forget for a minute that Haynesworth said basically the same thing at the beginning of September when he had just arrived in New England: "To me, it's a career-saving place for me to come. I had no idea it would be like this, but it's unbelievable, and I wish I took two years ago and came here."

The real question is why the Buccaneers -- and, according to PFT, ONLY the Buccaneers -- would put a waiver claim on a guy who’s seemingly still talented but tends also not to give a crap about anything that’s happening around him on the football field.  It’s because, as general manager Mark Dominik told NFL.com, the team was desperate after losing Gerald McCoy for the season with another torn biceps injury.

"If that doesn't happen, this doesn't happen, we don't claim Haynesworth," Dominik said. "The reality, we lost Gerald for the season, we're 4-4 and still in the thick of it, we've lost our last two and we're one game off the wild card. We don't think we're out of it.”

So, the Buccaneers decided to pick up a guy who, as my colleague Ryan Wilson puts it, has “previously shown great skill at lying motionless on the field, and his play in New England rendered him virtually invisible."

Dominik has done his homework on Haynesworth, watching multiple times all 134 of the plays involving Haynesworth this season.

"I saw disruption," Dominik said. "I saw strength, a finisher, a guy with the ability to put a lot of pressure on an offense. He's still able to be a penetrating force. He can hit it and go. I didn't see as much dogging it, but I did see the last play, where he played a 1-gap technique, and I can see why it got them frustrated. He opened up the run lane, and (Brandon) Jacobs walked in the end zone. That said, I didn't see a guy that didn't care. He battled and competed. I think he's worthy of an opportunity."

Apparently, he’s off to a good start. Coach Raheem Morris told reporters that Haynesworth picked up the defensive system quickly. He’s not sure if Haynesworth will play this Sunday, but Morris said Haynesworth could go about 35 plays if need be.

But there’s no doubt Dominik will be watching Haynesworth closely. Because, as we all know, Haynesworth’s previous two places of employment probably wouldn’t give much of a recommendation.

He did have one other interesting comment when speaking to reporters today. He said he didn’t sign with Tampa Bay in 2009 because there was too much water and too much son and he worried he couldn’t focus solely on football after he bought a big boat.
 
It’s a good thing he’s gotten past all those focus issues, eh?



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Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:36 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-half predictions

Green Bay is being predicted to win the Super Bowl (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We’re halfway through the season, and since so few of my preseason predictions will come true (seriously?!? The Rams to win the NFC West? Chris Johnson as the comeback player?), I’ve decided to give it another go in hopes that I don’t have to bring my prediction machine into the shop for a tune-up.

Aside from our new, guaranteed to be true picks (you can also check out our CBS expert chat from Wednesday in that link), I’m going out on a limb with this Top Ten with a Twist and giving you 10 predictions that I know in my heart of hearts WILL happen the rest of the season.

Because the great thing about working for a national website, as opposed to a newspaper that gets filed into the recycling bin as soon as you’re done reading it, is that there’s no way anybody will ever know if your predictions turn out to be crap. Oh, wait …

10. The Bills will fall apart: One of the league’s most surprising teams -- though Fred Jackson says you shouldn’t have been THAT surprised by it -- played perhaps its worst game of the season against the wrong opponent last week, losing to the Jets at home and falling into a tie for first place in the AFC East with the Jets and Patriots. Buffalo has to play both teams once more, and though Buffalo should finish with a winning record, that won’t be enough to finish ahead of New England and New York and make the playoffs.

9. The Lions won’t: Detroit’s success hasn’t been nearly as surprising as Buffalo’s, but the fact Detroit is 6-2 through the first half of the season isn’t something we’re used to seeing. But the Lions are legitimately a playoff team. They’re third in the league in points scored -- that can happen when your former No. 1 pick stays healthy (so far) and your top-notch wide receiver scores touchdowns by the bushel. The Lions, even though Ndamukong Suh hasn’t been at his best, still maintain a top-10 defense. Though the second-half schedule is tough, Detroit has a good chance of knocking off Green Bay (the two teams play twice), and if the Lions can stay ahead of the Bears, one wild card spot will be waiting for them.

8. New England will right the ship: The Patriots, despite losing their past two games and looking bad in the process, should still make the playoffs. So, from that aspect, they’ll be good enough. Just not as good as they usually are. That’s because their defense is a major problem (Albert Haynesworth, you’ll recall, was on the roster for eight weeks), and it’s unclear how New England will fix it. But the offense is good enough to survive the second half of their schedule. They won’t get a first-round bye, and they probably won’t survive wild card weekend. So, the season basically will be an abject failure in New England’s eyes.

7. The Colts will win a game (or two): Indianapolis will not be the second team in NFL history to go 0-for-16 on the year. Already, they’ve lost four games by eight points or less, and yes, even though that 62-7 loss to the Saints was ridiculous, Indianapolis (and quarterback Curtis Painter) is good enough to win at least one. It could happen this week vs. the Jaguars at home or at Jacksonville in Week 17, and a win against the Panthers is not completely out of the question. The point is: a team that plays the Steelers to within three points isn’t the worst team in the history of the league. Even if the Colts are the last winless team in the NFL this season.

Sparano6. Jim Irsay will break Caldwell’s firing on Twitter: Irsay has to be my favorite NFL owner of all time, simply because he gets the power of social media. Sure, most of the time he’s tweeting obscure lyrics from Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut album or pretending to look for Brett Favre in Hattiesburg, Miss., but Caldwell also will be the first owner in history to break the news on his own Twitter account that he’s firing his coach. John Elway has been great on Twitter as well, but Elway also has a boss. That’s not a problem for Irsay.

5. Tony Sparano will last the season: I don’t know if Jim Caldwell will make it to the season’s end with the Colts, but I’m thinking Sparano will do exactly that. The team is still playing hard -- and how about the Dolphins beating the crap out of the Chiefs in Kansas City last week? -- and though the talent is lacking in that organization (how much can be blamed on the departed Bill Parcells?), they still believe in Sparano. If the Dolphins can pull of another couple wins, hopefully owner Stephen Ross will let him last through the season. After the emasculation Ross put him through in the offseason, Sparano deserves that much at least.

4. HGH testing won’t be around in 2011: We told you about a month ago that the NFL’s HGH testing was a go and that it very well could start within that week. That was quickly disputed by the NFLPA -- which claims that nobody has explained to the union exactly how the tests will be conducted -- and here we are, nearly a month later, and nothing has happened. As NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman, “We have an agreement to test for HGH. What we don't have an agreement on is the process and the protocol to implement the test.” Considering the glacial pace at which the two sides moved when the 2011 season was at stake, I don’t expect the league to start testing until next season. If then.

3. Carson Palmer will be better than average: That’s not exactly a high bar to jump over, but considering he wasn’t even that in his final seasons for the Bengals, this would be an improvement. Palmer had a rough outing in his first action, replacing Kyle Boller in the second half of the Chiefs game, but he showed some of the Palmer of old, throwing three touchdowns (and three more interceptions) in the loss to the Broncos. Will Palmer be worth the two high-round draft picks the Raiders gave to the Bengals for him? Probably not, but Palmer will keep the Raiders in the playoff hunt.

2. Wade Phillips will save Gary Kubiak’s job: The Texans defensive coordinator is well on his way to doing exactly that for Houston’s head coach. Because, at this very moment, the Texans defense is ranked No. 1 in the NFL. You remember what they were last year, right? No. 30. Hiring Phillips might be the best move Kubiak ever made, and Phillips is repaying him by recreating a defense that will lead Houston to the playoffs and keep Kubiak safely employed.

1. Packers will win Super Bowl: I mean, who else is there?

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Posted on: November 9, 2011 6:03 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 6:05 pm
 

Ryan: 'Our concern wasn't Haynesworth' vs. Pats

'He’s not a guy we were absolutely concerned with,' Ryan said of Haynesworth (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It certainly doesn't speak well of John McCargo's NFL prospect when some 18 hours after the Buccaneers signed him, they released him for ... Albert Haynesworth. Comments Wednesday by Jets head coach Rex Ryan, whose team lost to the Patriots in Week 5 and faces them again Sunday night, won't make McCargo feel any better. And they should trouble the Bucs, too.

”To be honest with you, our concern wasn’t Albert Haynesworth,” Ryan said, via the Boston Herald. ”Whether you believe it or not, they got a lot of big guys. Vince Wilfork is the bell cow in that front. Andre Carter is a pick up they had. I think he’s playing well. Getting (Jerod) Mayo back. I don’t think he played in our first game. He’s a tremendous player.

”But Haynesworth, specifically, it’s not like we had to know where he’s at,” Ryan went on. ”He’s just a big guy. But they got a lot of good ones. Vince Wilfork’s the guy. i think that Kyle Love kid is underrated. And they got the big kid from Boston College (Ron Brace) back. Haynesworth does have some good ability and things like that. But he’s not a guy we were absolutely concerned with.”

These comments rank pretty low on the list of incendiary things to come out of Ryan's mouth, but just because he didn't make mention of Super Bowl rings or post-meeting snacks doesn't make them any less true. The Redskins gave Haynesworth a $100 million contract before the 2009 season because he had the ability to dominate the line of scrimmage.

The Pats only wasted a fifth-rounder to kick the tires on Haynesworth, but presumably they were hoping for something more than a guy who was so unimpressive that opposing teams barely noticed him.

Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik told Buccaneers.com that he watched "all 134 of Haynesworth's plays with NE twice before putting in a claim" so maybe he sees something that the other 31 teams missed. 

Haynesworth's previously shown great skill at lying motionless on the field, and his play in New England rendered him virtually invisible. Maybe Dominik has some thoughts on how to turn that perceived weakness -- disappearing for large stretches -- into a strength. Like, say...

The Invisi-Sacker: he's invisible ... and he sacks quarterbacks.

Worst football-playing superhero? Without a doubt. But at this point in the proceedings, that might be Haynesworth's best chance at salvaging what's left of his NFL career.

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Posted on: November 9, 2011 4:27 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 5:49 pm
 

Buccaneers claim Albert Haynesworth off waivers

Posted by Will Brinson

On Tuesday, the Patriots made the somewhat surprising decision to release defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. And on Wednesday, Haynesworth was claimed by the Buccaneers off of waivers.

To make room for Haynesworth, the Bucs released the recently-signed John McCargo.

This is shocking because, as we noted recently, there weren't many teams that were a fit for Big Al's style of not trying hard. But it does make sense because the Bucs recently lost defensive tackle Gerald McCoy for the season due to a torn biceps muscle.

This isn't even the first time Tampa Bay's been interested in Haynesworth -- they flirted with the defensive tackle in free agency before Haynesworth decided to sign with the Redskins. (Presumably the whole "more guaranteed money with less guaranteed effort" thing was too valuable to pass up.)

Bucs GM Mark Dominik says he watched "all 134 of Haynesworth's plays with NE twice before putting in a claim" and that he planned on having Haynesworth in for practice as early as Thursday.

"I have had a chance to talk to him already and he was – as you would hope – excited and fired up," Dominik said, via Buccaneers.com. "He asked how soon we could get him a flight because he wants to be in tonight and go to practice tomorrow.  That was very encouraging."

Now Haynesworth joins a defensive line rotation that features young players like Brian Price, and will hope to shore up the Tampa rush defense.

There's upside to be had here, because a big close to the season for Haynesworth could net him another contract with a team. But given that he couldn't even get things going in New England, football's version of the Betty Ford Clinic, it's hard to imagine him playing hard for Tampa now.

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Posted on: November 8, 2011 5:06 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 11:43 am
 

Podcast: Adrian Peterson talks Vikings, gaming

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Viking running back Adrian Peterson joins the show to talk about the Vikings' season to date, the Bears' win over the Eagles on Monday Night Football and given Chris Johnson's struggles this season, if teams should be hesitant to pay backs big bucks. 

ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith also stops by for his weekly chat. We discuss the Patriots' latest loss, the Ravens' latest win, the Redskin's death spiral, and look ahead to next week's Lions-Bears matchup.

But there's more!

We talk about Albert Haynesworth's legacy in New England and the likelihood he clears waivers and ends up in Philadephia (And if that happens, does he become the most disliked NFL player surpassing Michael Vick?), relive the Eagles' Monday-night nightmare,  and wonder (again) if Chicago should pay Matt Forte since he's a huge part of that offense.

Just hit the play button below to listen (and did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?). If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.


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Posted on: November 8, 2011 2:04 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 6:32 am
 

Patriots release Albert Haynesworth

It only took eight games for New England to give up on Haynesworth. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Patriots acquired Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth before the season, both for late-round draft picks. At the time it appeared to be another case of the rich getting richer; four years earlier, New England took Randy Moss off the Raiders' hands for a fourth-rounder and he went on to have one of the best pass-catching seasons in NFL history.

There will be no such story of redemption for Haynesworth, at least not in Foxboro: the Patriots released him Tuesday, his agent confirmed.

"He was told it just wasn't a good fit and they wanted to end it now," a source told NFL Network's Steve Wyche.

Haynesworth's career has been a roller coaster of dominating performances punctuated by questionable work habits, and marred by behavioral issues and off-field incidents.

In August, he stood trial on sex-abuse charges (he pleaded no contest), and is probably best known for stomping on then-Cowboys center Andre Gurode's head during a 2006 game

Days before the start of the regular season, Haynesworth called New England a "career-saving place for me to come … I had no idea it would be like this, but it's unbelievable, and I wish I took two years ago and came here."  This was after he had signed a $100 million deal with the Redskins prior the 2009 season (including $41 million in guarantees), and proceeded to do absolutely nothing for two years before ending up in Foxboro for his next last chance.

Now, eight games into the 2011 season, the Pats have seen enough of Haynesworth to know he's not worth the trouble. He played sparingly in Sunday's loss to the Giants, and didn't see the field for most of the third quarter and all of the fourth quarter.

The Boston Herald reported Tuesday that Haynesorth's playing time had nothing to do with a heated sideline conversation with a Pats assistant. Instead, head coach Bill Belichick called it "rotation-related."
Yet, sources described an animated conversation between defensive line coach Pepper Johnson and Haynesworth following that play, with shouting back and forth. It’s not clear what was said, but Haynesworth was not on the field afterward.

On the play, Haynesworth stood up and attempted a swim move inside on Jacobs’ run, which took him out of the hole and allowed guard David Diehl to block him effectively. Haynesworth realized his error and owned up to it to Belichick.

Yet, when Johnson approached, it grew heated, sources said. Similar conversations happen on sidelines throughout the NFL. The fact that it was Haynesworth, who drew a holding penalty earlier in the game, created attention.
This is the latest personnel misstep to befall the Patriots and Belichick, and it comes on a unit in dire need of playmakers. The secondary is in shambles after Belichick released Deon Butler, Brandon Meriweather and Leigh Bodden and replaced them with waiver-wire signings -- players none of the 31 other teams wanted.

As for Haynesworth, he's still talented enough to find work elsewhere. Before he was traded to New England, there were reports that the Eagles were interested in his services. Philadelphia defensive line coach Jim Washburn was with Haynesworth in Tennessee. Before the season, sources told Yahoo.com that Washburn was "convinced he can get the most out of Haynesworth," and that "he wants him badly."

Now he may get that chance.

First, he'll have to clear waivers. Teams will have 24 hours to claim him, and Haynesworth would be owed roughly $750,000 of his $1.5 million base salary if claimed by Wednesday afternoon. 

Haynesworth restructured his contract to come to the Patriots but was due $7 million next season.

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Posted on: October 26, 2011 11:01 am
 

Film Room: Steelers vs. Patriots preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



The Patriots are known for their offense. The Steelers are known for their defense. But the other side of the ball is just as intriguing. Here are five keys to Pittsburgh’s offense against New England’s defense.


1. Understanding the REAL Steelers
It’s amazing: we still hear so-called experts refer to the Steelers as a black-and-blue, ground-and-pound offense. Usually a phrase like “getting back to their roots” or “playing true Steeler ball” accompanies this embarrassing misnomer. The people who think of today’s Steelers as run-oriented are the same people who stopped renting movies once the video cassette tape disappeared.

They’re the same people who still worry about the cost of a cross-country phone call, or who think that the best way to make a statement is to send a letter to their local newspaper.

The Steelers are a passing team. This isn’t to say that they can’t or won’t run. In fact, their run-pass ratio is about as normal as it gets. Over the last four years, in games that Ben Roethlisberger has played, the Steelers have called a run play 43.1 percent of the time and a pass play 56.9 percent of the time. The league average is 43.6 percent run and 56.4 percent pass. When the Steelers are protecting a lead, they squeeze the air out of the ball. But when they’re trying to establish a lead, they throw.

The Steelers have put the ball in the air 84.4 percent of the time on third down. This suggests either a.) They are not running effectively (hence, they’ve faced a lot of third-and-long situations) or b.) When they need a money play, they trust their pass game more than their run game. They’re lining up like a passing team, too. So far Ben Roethlisberger has attempted 159 passes out of three-or four-receiver formations. He’s attempted just 21 passes out of two-receiver formations.

This season, the Steelers’ decision to transform into more of a downfield offense was a conscious one. In 2010 they drafted a speed-and-quickness wideout in the third round (Emmanuel Sanders) and a power runner in the fifth (Jonathan Dwyer). They did the same in 2009, drafting Mike Wallace in the third round and Frank Summers in the fifth. These moves were made after it was confirmed that ’08 first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall was an everydown back with a slight predilection for finesse over power.

But the main inspiration behind these moves was the guy under center.

2. Ben Roethlisberger
He’s often not described this way, but Roethlisberger is the most physically gifted quarterback in the AFC – if not all of pro football (it’s a whole other discussion, but strong arguments could be made for Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton or Michael Vick).

Everyone praises Roethlisberger for having the strength to shed would-be sackers before throwing. But what’s more remarkable – and not talked about – is the quality of those throws. Roethlisberger throws off balance and under duress with unparalleled velocity and accuracy.

Very little about his game is fundamentally sound. His footwork is flawed. His balance is poor. His mechanics are okay but often irrelevant given that the majority of his drop-backs turn into sandlot improvs. The reason he’s a sandlot player is because he does not read the field well (if at all) before the snap. For most quarterbacks, this would be a crippling weakness. For Roethlisberger, it’s a strength. He actually prefers to react to a defense rather than dictate the terms.

Roethlisberger might sense a blitz presnap and, like just about any quarterback, make a few tweaks to his protection or receivers’ routes. More often, though, he’d rather just take the snap, actually see the blitz coming and make his own adjustments on the fly.

If any other quarterbacks played this way, they’d look like JaMarcus Russell (a sorry sap who actually did try to play this way). Roethlisberger has the physical talent and uncanny instincts to pull it off.

3. Defending Big Ben & Co.
The brilliance behind Roethlisberger’s unusual style is that it’s hard to gameplan against. It’s not unusual to see a defense strategically defeat the Steelers offense yet still get beat for a big play. Defensive strategies are based on disrupting the quarterback’s fundamentals and progressions. But what do you do when the quarterback does not rely on fundamentals or even progression reads?

But if it were as simple as just playing basic, fundamentally sound defense, every team would do that. Most teams, however, don’t have the resources to contain Pittsburgh’s weapons straight-up. Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown are bourgeoning inside receivers who have the quickness to separate from man-coverage and a great feel for locating the deep voids against zones (a critical attribute given the way Roethlisberger extends plays).

Outside, the lanky, long-striding Mike Wallace is the most lethal downfield threat in the game. These are wideouts who make you think twice about bringing a safety down in the box. Though the Steelers aren’t the run-first team they once were, they’re certainly capable of pounding a seven-man defensive front on the ground.

Thus, the most viable (and common) way to defend Roethlisberger & Co. is to attack their offensive line. You want to force Roethlisberger into sandlot tactics early in the down rather than let him extend the play. That way, his teammates don’t have time to execute their assignments. The limited timing naturally diminishes the threat of Wallace over the top and allows defensive backs to gamble more against Sanders and Brown.

Aiding this cause is the vulnerability of Pittsburgh’s front five. Left tackle Max Starks was out of football less than one month ago. Left guard Chris Kemoeatu has battled a knee injury and was awful in pass protection in his return last week. Right guard Ramon Foster is an undrafted backup (filling in for injured Doug Legursky) and right tackle Marcus Gilbert is an intriguing-but-still-youthful rookie.

4. How Belichick will attack
Belichick’s M.O. is to take away the opposing offense’s top two strengths. This obviously would mean preventing Roethlisberger from extending plays and eliminating Wallace’s deep routes. The Patriots did this last season in their Week 10 victory at Pittsburgh by blitzing like crazy (the Steelers had been struggling at the time with blitz pickups).

However, this season, Patriots linebackers have been poor in blitz execution. Also, the Pats have been more inclined to use a four-man pass-rush out of nickel packages.

We’ve seen Belichick do a 180-degree change in defensive gameplans from one week to the next plenty before, and anything’s possible when he’s coming off a bye. But given the way the Steeler guards struggle in pass protection, don’t be surprised if Albert Haynesworth finally gets significant playing time as a three-technique next to Vince Wilfork.

That’s a combination the Steelers simply wouldn’t be able to block. The Patriots could have their ho-hum ends play containment, which would keep Roethlisberger in the pocket facing pressure right up the middle. He’d still manage some sandlot plays, but he’d also be throwing into seven-man coverages, which could spell turnovers. The Patriots like to compensate for their vulnerable secondary by generating interceptions (last season they ranked 30th in pass yards allowed but first in interceptions).

5. Miscellaneous note
Jerod Mayo, who has been out since injuring his knee in Week 4, is far and away New England’s best linebacker. If he’s available Sunday, the Patriots would have more options for containing Roethlisberger (Mayo reads the field well and has good awareness in coverage). Not surprisingly, Belichick isn’t disclosing Mayo’s status.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 8 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com