Albert Haynesworth to the Patriots

Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth (L) walks off the field during the third day of their NFL football training camp in Ashburn, Virginia July 31, 2010. According to the website, Haynesworth did not take his third attempt to pass a team conditioning test today, and will rest his legs before attempting the test again August 1. Man on right is unidentified. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Like Mike Florio, I like this trade (not yet confirmed) for both teams.

As Florio points out, people will give Bill Belichick the benefit of the doubt. Other teams would likely be criticized for taking on this head case.

That said, Belichick will likely use Albert Haynesworth properly, avoided the idiotic showdowns in Washington where defensive offensive “genius” Mike Shanahan tried to make this elite interior pass rusher into a hole-clogging nose tackle.

As resident Patriots homer expert Rosenthal points out, the Pats use a 4-3 front roughly half the time. Thus, Haynesworth likely will be a part-time player, but he possibly will be in the alignment he prefers 100 percent of the time that he’s on the field.

And while there’s no way he’d be asked to play the nose tackle position in New England’s 3-4 alignment, thanks to the presence of Vince Wilfork, Belichick surely wouldn’t expect Haynesworth to be a traditional lineman-occupying presence at defensive end in that formation. That’s where Belichick’s brain becomes important. When a player doesn’t like a certain type of system, it’s because he doesn’t play as well in that system. So instead of forcing Haynesworth to eat his brussel sprouts, Belichick will find ways to let Haynesworth get the most out of his talents. Who knows? Maybe that will mean periodically lining him up on the edge in obvious passing situations and letting him maul a tackle one-on-one and chase down the quarterback.

Belichick understands the concept of calculated risks. His team needs a pass rush, and this move makes sense.

Meanwhile, the Redskins are looking for a fresh start, so this helps. We haven’t seen them break the bank yet with idiotic free agent signings, so maybe new GM Bruce Allen might be taking control from Mr. Ego Daniel Snyder.

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PFT’s Mike Florio (sort of) apologizes to Aaron Rodgers

It took a few days, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has finally apologized to Aaron Rodgers for his knee-jerk reaction to video of Rodgers walking by a cancer patient who was looking to get her hat signed.

When I saw the video for the first time, I cringed. Many of you did the same. But then I did what we bloggers (or whatever we are) all too often do — I fired off a rebuke of Rodgers without considering anything else about the other things he has done, both publicly and privately, over the years.

Gregg Doyel of CBS has provided an excellent look at Rodgers’ good deeds, including his work for Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer. You should read Gregg’s article. It’s an eye opener. And I commend Rodgers for his efforts. In many respects, he has shown his appreciation of and concern for the citizens of Green Bay and Wisconsin. If Packers fans hadn’t previously embraced him like they’d embraced Brett Favre, their reaction to the criticism of Rodgers from me and others shows that they now have.

I apologize to Rodgers for painting him with an unjustifiably broad brush based on a very brief slice of his life. It was wrong to jump to conclusions about whether he treats fans properly, and whether he understands the connection between the fans who support him and the money he makes. Though some have argued that true character is revealed in those fleeting moments, the whole truth about a man falls somewhere between his best days and his worst days. For Rodgers, there’s no reason to believe that the truth isn’t a lot closer to the best than the worst.

It sounds like Doyel’s article is what turned Florio around, although Rodgers’ charity work was brought to his attention prior to his second scathing post and he dismissed it saying that what people do when the cameras aren’t around is a reflection of their true character.

Well, there was a camera there and that may have been the reason Rodgers didn’t want to stop, fearing he might get roped into an interview. Or maybe he just zoned out listening to his favorite song while getting ready to fly to Atlanta for the biggest game of his life to that point. Athletes are human and sometimes they just need time to themselves.

I don’t particularly like the way that Florio begins with “we bloggers,” implying that he’s only guilty of what we’re all guilty of…even though we’re not all guilty of skewering a man’s character over two seconds of video with no knowledge or research into the person’s backstory. He also admits that he’s mainly apologizing to make himself feel better, and later implies in the final paragraph that others are still in the wrong (presumably Rodgers), but hey, at least he apologized. Sort of.

Aaron Rodgers walks past a cancer patient; Mike Florio gets on his soapbox

There’s video on YouTube of a WBAY (Green Bay) report that shows Aaron Rodgers walking past a cancer patient at the Green Bay airport as the Packers left for Atlanta. The woman, Jan Cavanaugh, wanted Rodgers to sign her hat. He didn’t, and Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio took the opportunity to criticize him for it.

It doesn’t matter whether it was Rodgers or any other player. Whoever walked by Jan Cavanaugh like she wasn’t even there was going to get reamed on the pages of PFT, because I believe that cancer patients deserve the highest level of respect and deference that can be provided.

Anyone whose life has been touched by the disease knows what I mean. We all can see in Jan Cavanaugh the mother or sister or aunt or friend or neighbor who has had to confront a silent killer that could kill — and, frankly, eventually will kill — many of the people reading these words. (For those of you who make it to 45 without getting cancer, that’s probably about the time you’ll start worrying from time to time about all the different organs in your body, and your spouse’s body, that eventually could be infested with it.)

No arguments here. Florio lists a few things that no one will have the gall to disagree with so that he can earn a few supporters.

So what of the follow-up report from WBAY, which likely has spent much of the past 24 hours apologizing to angry viewers for depicting Rodgers in a negative light and simultaneously applying lips to the buttocks of anyone and everyone in the Packers organization, that Rodgers signed a jersey the week before for Cavanaugh? Apparently, some of you think that makes his decision to walk past her without a nod or a smile or anything else fine and dandy.

I don’t.

If anything, this familiarity tends to reinforce the notion that Rodgers knew or should have known that Cavanaugh has cancer, making his failure to offer a friendly nod or a wave or a quick “not today, maybe next time” while she waited for him to sign her hat even more strange.

I don’t know if Florio has a team of CIA-caliber video technicians over at PFT, but the way the footage was shot it was impossible for me to see if Rodgers nodded or smiled at the woman, so I’m not sure how Florio can definitively say that he didn’t. Rodgers certainly didn’t stop to say anything to her, but he was on his way to Atlanta to play in the biggest game of his life, so it’s safe to say that he had other things on his mind. And there was a television camera there so it’s possible that Rodgers didn’t want to stop and get roped into doing an interview with WBAY when he’s supposed to be getting on the team plane.

Florio glosses over the fact that the woman has stated that she’s bothered by the criticism that he’s receiving and acknowledged that she and her husband have multiple items signed by the quarterback. In fact, she has an autographed jersey that he signed just a week ago.

This brings up a good question: Just how much interaction should a professional athlete have with fans — or better yet, the same fan — over a period of time? Whether or not Florio wants to believe it, it is possible that Rodgers met the woman without the topic of cancer coming up. She was wearing pink, but she could simply be a supporter of breast cancer awareness. Does that mean Rodgers has to stop or pause to greet the woman every time he runs into her at the airport? Florio acts as if Rodgers is supposed to remember the personal history of every fan he signs for and at the same time learn the ins and outs of the Atlanta Falcons’ pass defense. That’s a lot to ask of a man, even one as talented as Rodgers.

Oh, by the way, according to the New York Times, Mike Florio is a longtime Minnesota Vikings fan.

Just sayin’.

Mike Florio said something stupid today

Mike Florio of writes that because Donovan McNabb and other athletes didn’t know there were ties in the NFL that they don’t love the game of football as much as fans do.

Donovan McNabbHowever, a player’s knowledge of the rules should be a factor in the overall process. It’s relevant because it shows whether he truly loves his sport or if he just plays for money and fame. It’s relevant to whether he can be counted on to do whatever is necessary to win — no matter if it’s in the first minute of the first quarter or in the final seconds of overtime.

For players like McNabb, it’s hard to conclude they truly love pro football. If they did, they’d figure out at some point before turning 30 that tie games can happen, even if they don’t happen often.

Here’s what we learned Sunday, when Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb declared with stunning nonchalance that he didn’t know an NFL game could end in a tie: Many pro athletes are motivated primarily by the fact they get paid a lot of money to do what they do.

How else can anyone explain McNabb’s ignorance of a rule almost all NFL fans can recite without advance thought?

As it turns out, several other Eagles didn’t know. Plenty of players on other teams also are saying they didn’t know, either.

The message? They care. But they don’t care. Not like the rest of us, who’d play pro football for free and routinely fork over big money to watch others do it.

McNabb + didn’t know about ties in the NFL = he doesn’t love football? There seems to be a lot missing from that equation.

Ben Roethlisberger said that he didn’t know there were ties in football, but Florio doesn’t mention him, or any players from the Falcons-Steelers tie in 2002 who admitted they didn’t know there were ties either. Maybe these players don’t know about ties because they only happen once every six years. Hell, thousands of players go entire careers without playing to a tie.

This is absolutely ridiculous that this is being made into such a big deal. The bigger deal is how the Eagles were even in this situation to begin with. They should have been running out the clock in the fourth quarter – not playing for overtime. Criticize McNabb for his horrid performance, but don’t focus on something as dumb as this. A gaff in the Steelers-Chargers game cost people roughly $64 million and Florio is writing about this.

McNabb doesn’t love football because he didn’t know there were ties? What an asinine thing to say.

Florio: Reggie Bush will never be great

Mike Florio of suggests that Saints’ RB Reggie Bush will never be a great NFL player.

Reggie BushBut with two punt returns for touchdowns Monday night, folks now assume Bush, after two-plus years of average-to-mildly-above-average play, has arrived.

Um, not quite.

Bush had a great game. It’s still only one game. Less than four years ago, Eddie Drummond returned two punts for touchdowns on the same day and is now out of the league. Jermaine Lewis did it for the Ravens not once but twice, and he won’t ever get into Canton without paying admission.

Apart from those punt returns Monday night, Bush was ordinary. He ran the ball 12 times for 29 yards.
For the season, Bush is averaging 3.3 yards per carry. For his career, he is at 3.6 yards per carry. Monday night’s showing of less than 2.5 yards per attempt only brought down those numbers.
Bush also caught seven passes for 64 yards Monday. Solid, not spectacular.

I’m not saying Bush isn’t a solid player. I am saying Bush has a ceiling on his skill level, and that his performance on Monday night did nothing to shatter it.

He’s good, not great. He’s definitely not the guy everyone thought he would be.

Reggie Bush isn’t going to live up to the hype because the hype was too much to begin with. And that’s not Bush’s fault. Just like when Michael Vick came out of VA Tech, everyone had these grandioso ideas that just because the guy was a superb athlete, meant he was going to revolutionize the quarterback position. And then when he didn’t, writers like Florio jumped all over him and said he’ll never live up to the hype. Gee, you think? Joe Montana couldn’t live up to the hype that’s bestowed upon some athletes these days.

It’s the same deal with Bush. People who actually took the time to watch him in college knew that he was an amazing athlete, but that LenDale White got the bulk of the carries in between the tackles. Bush wasn’t all of a sudden going to be an every down back in the NFL and that’s why the Saints have wisely hung on to Deuce McAllister over the years. So will Bush ever be a great NFL player? Probably not, but he’s still the same player that lit it up at USC when you stop and think about it, only now the stage is a hell of a lot bigger and he’s not getting the same pub. It’s because of the media’s hype-machine that people even debate whether or not he’ll ever be a “great” player.

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