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Patriots finally make noise by acquiring Haynesworth

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted July 28, 2011 @ 12:25 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

The Patriots didn't stay quiet for long.

Early Thursday morning, the team reportedly agreed to send a 2013 fifth-round draft pick to the Redskins for embattled DT Albert Haynesworth.

Head coach Bill Belichick, as only he knows how, would not say anything about Haynesworth aside from admitting the team was in the process of acquiring the veteran.

Of course, with Belichick, just mentioning Haynesworth's name is enough to know it will be official.

The two-time Pro Bowler played in just eight games in his final season in Washington. He wasn't in shape and was outspoken about not wanting to play in Mike Shanahan's 3-4 defense. He also got into trouble off the field.

Now, Haynesworth joins a team that does not like distractions.

The PFW Spin

This is one of those typical Belichick moves — take a veteran player that one team does not want and find a way to plug him in on the Pats' roster. It worked with Randy Moss, and it worked with Corey Dillon.

Moss, though, overstayed his welcome. When the team felt it didn't need his services, and when he became a big distraction, he was dealt.

Belichick is obviously taking a risk here. Sure, he is one of the best at taking another team's expendable players and making it work in New England, but not only has Haynesworth been a distraction, his conditioning has been an issue.

On the field, Haynesworth is sure to be used in the team's "sub" defense. The Patriots had the league's worst third-down "D" last season and could stand to get better penetration from their D-line. Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork would be a tough tandem for offensive lines to keep in check. That's the best-case scenario, though, as Haynesworth first has to prove he is in shape and can stay out of trouble, and out of Belichick's doghouse.

The Patriots do run a base 3-4, but as ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss pointed out Thursday on Twitter, they were in the sub package more than 50 percent of the time last season. Belichick also uses four-man fronts at times.

Belichick didn't have a lot of time to allow young DL Kyle Love and Brandon Deaderick to develop last season, as the two had to see significant playing time because of injuries to Ty Warren and Mike Wright. With Haynesworth in the fold and the rest of the veterans healthy, Love and Deaderick don't have to be rushed. He can also spell Wilfork, who saw his fair share of snaps last season at the end and nose, at times.

Similarly to the Ryan Mallett draft pick, the Patriots aren't giving up a whole lot for a guy that has lots of baggage. If Haynesworth doesn't pan out, the Pats lose a fifth-round pick in 2013, and knowing them, there's a way they can get it back if they want.

And if Haynesworth pans out and improves the team's interior pass rush? Belichick outfoxed everyone again.

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