By: Russ Goldman
Yesterday, there was talk generated by an article by Dan Pompei in the National Football Post regarding Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth. Pompei suggested that both might not be with the Patriots for the long term. His take is based on comments from an NFL executive. After reading that article, I have to wonder why in the world would the Patriots cut Ochocinco or Haynesworth?
Dan Pompei is a first rate NFL writer, and do not doubt his knowledge or sources at all. Before I comment, I wanted to share the excerpt from his article.
Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth might not be long for New England. One day before this story came out by my guy Mike Reiss, one NFL executive familiar with the Patriots ways told me he believes one or both of the big name acquisitions will be cut before the season starts. The front office man thinks coach Bill Belichick will use the controversial players to help control and send a message to his locker room.
Now, it is obvious that this NFL executive Mr. Pompei talked to is not with the Patriots. This is strictly an opinion that this front office man is putting out there. It is not based on any knowledge of what the Patriots are planning to do on their roster this season.
The NFL executive in this story is certainly entitled to their opinion. Well I have mine on this subject as well.
The Patriots don’t bring in players to just send a message to the team. They only acquire players that they believe will make them a better team. I honestly think that part of the commentary is ridiculous.
Now, let’s get to the main reason why I don’t think the Patriots will cut either player. Both players fill possible “needs” the team has on their roster. Many fans, and obviously the Patriots coaching staff themselves, think they need another quality wide receiver. If Ochocinco can learn the playbook, and get in tune with Tom Brady, you have just upgraded your offense.
Even on a very bad Bengals team, Ochocinco had 67 receptions for 831 yards last season. He could still be a very reliable option for Brady, and might also have the speed to stretch the field.
With the Patriots obviously changing their defense, why not bring in a player that in the past has been a game changer on that side of the ball? If the Patriots are going to play more 4-3 this season, and are going to be aggressive, than Haynseworth might be a serious upgrade on the defense.
Fans should expect Albert Haynesworth to make some serious contributions for the Patriots this season. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
At one point Haynesworth was considered to be one of the best defensive linemen in the game. If you partner him with Vince Wilfork in the middle of your defensive line, you could potentially have a disrupting force now on your defense. Who is going to be able to run on the Patriots against those two players? Also, imagine in passing downs trying to contain Haynesworth. He could put serious pressure up the middle on the quarterback.
I also know that some fans and media are concerned with the fact that he has not practiced much since the beginning of training camp. However, it is possible the Patriots are just being cautious with Haynesworth. He could also have an injury that he is working through to get him back on the field. I will remind fans and media alike that Randy Moss did not play a down in the pre-season in 2007. How did that work out for the Patriots?
Now, I have heard the arguments of why these players could be cut. Those reasons are there could be a problem in the locker room, or they just can’t play anymore. The first one has some validity, however both players are probably looking to ignite their careers again, so it is in their best interest to be on their best behavior. In my opinion, if they can’t play that would be the main reason they could be cut.
With both players, I see the possible rewards far outweighing the negatives they each bring, and I expect both to be on the 53 man roster. I also wouldn’t be surprised if both end up making significant contributions to the 2011 Patriots.