Why was Albert Haynesworth released today by the Patriots?
He disrespected the uniform and his teammates in the loss to the Giants.
That’s the bottom line.
There are a lot of things that can be tolerated on a football field, even getting regularly beaten because of a talent disadvantage.
But not failing to give a full effort. And that’s what Haynesworth did against the Giants.
Up to that point in his brief Patriots career, that could not be said. He played reasonably well at times. We even had him rated as our fifth-best player against the Steelers. And when he didn’t play well, like against the Chargers, Haynesworth at least competed. Maybe not to his full extent, but at an acceptable level.
But against the Giants, after he drew a holding call with 14:10 left in the second quarter, Haynesworth put together three of the worst plays you will see out of an NFL defensive tackle.
With 14:01 left, Haynesworth was easily thrown to the ground by Giants guard Chris Snee with one arm.
With 13:59 left, Snee easily pancaked Haynesworth when he stopped moving his feet – a cardinal sin for a defensive lineman.
And then on third down, Haynesworth was again thrown to the ground after he stopped moving his feet, this time by left guard David Diehl, whom other Patriots regularly beat in that game.
On Haynesworth’s next snap, he showed a decent rush almost playing the end position.
But then on Brandon Jacobs’ 10-yard touchdown run, Haynesworth got too high and was easily shoved out of the gap by Diehl.
Haynesworth’s day, after a few choice words from defensive line coach Pepper Johnson was finished after that.
And so was his Patriots’ career.
We thought about writing about Haynesworth’s struggles last night, but waited until we talked to a few NFL personnel executives to see if they came away with the same opinion.
“On the ground three straight times and didn’t seem at all to mind!” one said. “Just stopped moving his feet on each play.”
“Those were three really bad plays,” the other said.
Haynesworth needed to go, and sources said some Patriots players were grumbling about that, but coach Bill Belichick was already moving in that direction.
How could Belichick put Haynesworth on the field next to true pros like Vince Wilfork and Andre Carter after what happened against the Giants?
Everybody involved realized they couldn’t.
The bottom line is Haynesworth didn’t work, and it didn’t cost the team much. He was a luxury, especially with Ron Brace and Brandon Deaderick coming back, and not needed.
And on the list of ills plaguing the Patriots, Haynesworth was way down the list.
But facing a very important gut-check game against the Jets on Sunday night, the Patriots needed everybody pulling in the same direction.
Haynesworth wasn’t, and he’s gone.
As he should be.