National Football League
Haynesworth, Ochocinco don't fit Patriots
National Football League

Haynesworth, Ochocinco don't fit Patriots

Published Jul. 29, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

Smell like desperation and arrogance, to me. Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco.

Because the moves were engineered by Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, the acquisitions of Haynesworth and Ochocinco are being spun as low risk and high reward, no different from Belichick nabbing Corey Dillon and Randy Moss.

Maybe. Or maybe they’re something else entirely, an indication that more than four months of idle time was just long enough for Belichick to fall completely in love with his press clippings and believe he can salvage anyone.

In my view, there are major differences between Dillon/Moss and Haynesworth/Ochocinco.


Albert Haynesworth has no love for football. He plays the game because he’s good at it and it financially rewards him. The money he bilked the Redskins for is all he ever wanted from the game. Mission accomplished.

He has no desire to be an all-time great. His effort will always be inconsistent. He is not Randy Moss, an edge player whose penchant for taking plays off can be worked around. Haynesworth, a defensive tackle, is a cancer at the heart of a defense. His unwillingness to work breaks down the entire unit. Defenses are built on trust, gap control and every man filling his lane. You can’t have trust with Haynesworth in the middle of your defense.

Belichick is a defensive coach. Previously when the Patriots have added a shady character it has been on the offensive side of the ball. Rodney Harrison does not count. No one ever questioned Harrison’s desire to play football or fill a gap. Harrison loved the game.

Nope. Haynesworth is different. He’s a poisoned soul. The Boston Globe ran a timeline of his troubled past. For the past decade, he has consistently gotten in trouble on and off the field. He has been accused of physical and sexual assault. He is scheduled to go on trial Aug. 23 on charges of fondling a waitress.

Does Haynesworth’s rap sheet make him different from Corey Dillon or other NFL lawbreakers? No. But, again, no one questioned Dillon’s love of the game. He was a beast for seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, rushing for more than 1,000 yards six straight seasons.

I realize the Patriots can simply cut Haynesworth without a significant financial hit if he doesn’t work out during the preseason. But Haynesworth is so unpredictable and moody that the worst-case scenario is that things go well the first half of the season and the players begin to depend on him and he reverts to Fat Albert in December or January.

The Haynesworth addition is pure arrogance. It’s born from Belichick’s belief that he and his system can save every lost soul.

Belichick’s base defense is a 3-4. Haynesworth bucked against the Redskins because he did not want to play in a 3-4 scheme. Haynesworth is happy and (occasionally) motivated on a football field when he’s free to get up field and make plays in the backfield. Plugging multiple gaps and freeing linebackers to make plays do not make Albert happy.

I don’t get it.

And I don’t get Ochocinco, either.

It’s a myth that Ochocinco has some great love of football. Ochocinco has a love of attention. He spent the entire offseason attention-whoring. He rode bulls and race cars. He tried out for soccer. He did whatever he could to attract the attention of ESPN cameras.

Sound familiar?

It’s the same act he pulls on the football field. The alleged Patriots Way is that no man is bigger than the team. From the name on the back of his jersey, Ochocinco contradicts Belichick’s philosophy.

It does not matter that Belichick and Ochocinco have a weird, opposites-attract affinity.

Ochocinco is no longer a big-time talent. He’s at the end of his career/15 minutes. He has been rewarded for horrible habits, including undisciplined route running that will frustrate Tom Brady.

Like Haynesworth, Ochocinco might mask the shortcomings that tormented Carson Palmer. But what will happen in December and January when the spotlight is greatest?

Ochocinco is not Randy Moss. Ochocinco will not run by corners on nine routes. Ochocinco is a quicker Wes Welker, which means trust, precise routes and fearlessness will determine whether Brady and Ochocinco work well together.

Study tape of the Bengals. Carson Palmer could not trust Ochocinco.

I don’t like these moves by Belichick. If I’m proved wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it.

Today it smells like desperation and arrogance. And maybe a little bit of fear of the Jets and Rex Ryan.


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