Posted 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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