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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Who was the last player that scared you as much as Denard Robinson?

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Denard Robinson  of the Michigan Wolverines looks for a receiver against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 11, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Michigan defeated Notre Dame 28-24. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

This question came up today at work, and it has me really wondering. Who was last player in college football that caused you to hold your breath as soon as the ball was in his hands?

My immediate response was Reggie Bush, who I always felt had the ability to break a long touchdown run every time he touched the ball. With his speed and shiftiness, any time he was in the open field, he was a serious threat to score.

Some of my earliest college football memories were of watching Raghib “Rocket” Ismail at Notre Dame, and he had that same ability. Although I realize that more now watching him on YouTube, as I was only about 6 years old when he started at Notre Dame. Not long after the Rocket, Desmond Howard did the same thing.

The difference between Robinson and those players, however, is that Robinson is the quarterback and has his hands on the ball on every down. He also has the option to throw the ball, which makes every snap the Michigan offense has taken this season an event.

Have there been other quarterbacks like that? Robinson is often compared to Pat White because of the system he’s in, but I don’t remember having that same feeling with White, as dynamic as he was. Tommy Frazier was a beast at Nebraska and always had the ability to break a big run, but if I remember correctly (again, I was pretty young during Frazier’s time), he ran through a lot of people, and while he was fast, didn’t have Denard Robinson speed.

I’m not saying Robinson is better than all of those guys, or an all-time great player. He still hasn’t played against a defense that you would even think is formidable. But just for pure game-breaking ability at his position, I’m having a hard time figuring out who matches him. Thoughts?

Decade Debate: 15 Best College Football Players

Judging which college football player was the best over the past decade can be a tricky endeavor. Do you rank a player that has won a Heisman higher than one that has not? Do you penalize a player if he played in a pass-happy system that allowed him to put up lofty numbers? Do you judge his performance based on the talent around him or the difficulty of his competition? As part of our ongoing Decade Debate series, here is a top 15 ranking of the best college football players of the past decade. Perhaps more than any of our lists in this decade series, this one could be debated the most given the factors that surround it.

15. C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

If you want to be entertained, try turning on a Clemson game and watching Spiller for three-plus hours. He’s a terrific runner, an electrifying return man and one of the deadliest weapons in college football. He is the only player besides Reggie Bush to post 2,500 yards rushing, 1,500 yards in kickoff returns, 1,000 yards receiving and 5,000 yards in punt returns. He’s also tied a NCAA record for most kickoff returns for touchdowns with six. If it weren’t for a lackluster junior season, he’d probably rank higher on this list.

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Chad Pennington’s season likely over

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington’s season is likely over after he suffered a torn capsule in his right throwing shoulder in a loss on Sunday to the Chargers. Pennington is seeking a second opinion, but it looks like Chad Henne will be the full-time starter now in Miami.

The team has not yet confirmed the severity of the injury. But Dolphins TE Anthony Fasano told the AP earlier the team was preparing to move on with backup Chad Henne.

“We’re going to have to go out there with Henne, who is a lot less experienced,” Fasano said. “There is definitely going to be a learning curve for Henne. He can learn as much as he wants in a classroom, but until he’s out on the field, in-game experience he’s not going to learn.”

Rookie Pat White, who’s seen action in the Dolphins’ Wildcat package thus far, is the only other QB on the roster.

White would be an intriguing option to start, but he doesn’t have any experience running a pro style offense because he played at West Virginia, which ran a spread option attack. So the Dolphins are essentially forced to start Henne and keep using White in the Wildcat.

This is a massive blow to Miami’s season. Pennington was limited as a passer, but he’s one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the game just based on his ability to read defenses and get the ball out of his hands quickly.

Unless Henne turns out to be the next Tom Brady off the bench, the Dolphins are going to struggle to even going .500 this year. They’re already 0-3 and play in one of the toughest divisions in football.

Breaking down the 2009 NFL Offensive Rookie Year candidates

Around this time last year, I compiled a top 10 list of Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates and ranked Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan No. 1. He went on to throw for 3,440 yards, 16 touchdowns and led Atlanta to a remarkable playoff appearance, all while making me look like some kind of OROY-predicting genius.

Of course, I also listed Titans running back Chris Johnson at No. 7 behind less-productive names like Darren McFadden (No. 4), Kevin Smith (No. 5) and Rashard Mendenhall (No. 6), hence making me look like some kind of OROY-predicting moron.

To see my top 10 ranking from last year, click here. And for my top 10 ranking of the offensive rookie of the year candidates for this season, see below.

1. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos
While the knee injury he suffered in Denver’s preseason opener is a concern, Moreno is expected to be ready for Week 1 and will be given every opportunity to shine in ’09. Granted, he’s stuck in a crowded backfield and could be eased into the season after hurting his knee, but he has the potential to be an every-down back at some point this year. He was the most complete back in April’s draft, has outstanding vision and should get plenty of opportunities to make plays in Josh McDaniels’ shotgun-heavy offense. He’ll also benefit from running behind the Broncos’ stellar O-line. Expecting him to put up rushing numbers similar to those of Chris Johnson (1,228 rushing yards) last year might be a little ambitious. But if Moreno stays healthy, a 400-plus yard receiving season in McDaniels’ system is certainly doable.

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