New attitude for Albert Haynesworth

Washington Redskins’ Albert Haynesworth is seen on the sidelines as the Redskins play a pre-season game against the Buffalo Bills at FedEx Field in Washington on August 13, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Albert Haynesworth is saying all the right things in New England:

To this point, Belichick has liked what he’s seen from Haynesworth.

“Albert has worked hard. I think that it’s coming (along),” Belichick said. “We’ve got a long way to go, so just take it day by day, but I think he’s doing fine.”

Numerous times in the team’s last two practices, Haynesworth has broken through the line to disrupt a play. He explained that he’s still getting his legs under him, but that the role reminds him of what he played in Tennessee, which would signal a Patriots shift to a 4-3 alignment, with Haynesworth in a disruptive role lining up shaded on the center or guard.

Haynesworth said he first got word of the trade to New England in a text message at 6:30 a.m., and was excited for the chance to play for Belichick.

“I always liked Coach Belichick, just the way he did things, the way the team performed, the way he handled the team and everything,” he said. “Now being on the inside, he’s very detail oriented and he demands perfection every time. I’ve been on some really good teams, with a lot of great players, but I’ve never been in a situation where it’s like perfection every time, not for a person but for the team.”

Haynesworth passed the Patriots’ conditioning test Sunday and said he feels like he’s in good shape, although there is still some rust to shake off.

In Washington, he expressed reservations about playing nose tackle in a 3-4 alignment. Asked if he’s willing to play in a 3-4 in New England, he responded, “I’m willing to attack the quarterback and kill the running back, knock everything back. Whatever gap the ball is in, that’s the gap I want to be in.”

Haynesworth said one aspect that has surprised him since arriving in New England last Thursday is how welcoming everyone has been.

Maybe he’ll revert to his old self, but context is everything in life, and Haynesworth seems to understand that he has a real opportunity here.

This also shows a real contrast between Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan. I blame Shanahan and the Redskins for most of the problems last season with Haynesworth. Sure, the guy can be a real jerk, but he’s a dominating force as a 4-3 tackle, yet Shanahan insisted on playing him as a nose tackle in the 3-4. It was idiotic, and it helps to explain why Shanahan went through defensive coordinators in Denver like hot women go through shoes. In contrast, Belichick will happily alter his scheme to fit his talent. He wasn’t always like that. I had to suffer watching him coach the Browns back in the 90s, but he obviously became a better coach through the years. Shanahan on the other hand seems to be regressing as his ego grows.

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