We talkin’ bout PRACTICE

Albert Haynesworth passed his conditioning test, blew up one play and then hit the bench. Since then, he’s been sidelined, missing 5 days of practice. Belichick says it’s only precautionary, so don’t worry. We just talkin’ bout practice:

But what ill effects of the lockout will rear their ugly heads during the next few weeks of official workouts, scrimmages and of course, preseason games? Guys have been dropping like flies, likely the result of prolonged time away from trainers and strength coaches. It begs the question: will the first month of football flat-out suck?

It’s hard to say, especially as we get ramped up for fantasy football drafts. “Research analysts” have had little time to watch rising players and rookies have taken fewer snaps, spent less time learning routes and recognizing defensive and offensive schemes. Business may not be as usual this year and some teams may surprise/disappoint.

When asked where do overall defenses stand or who are the most conditioned running backs and fastest wideouts, definitive answers are hard to come by. Are we in store for some sloppy, sloppy football or the most entertaining year yet?

I’m waxing optimistic just because I’m convinced there will be no NBA season (at least not in this country). After all, these guys are professionals.¬†They’ve been doing it all their adult lives, so what’s one small hiccup? It’s not like Haynesworth can unlearn being 6-9 and 350 pounds or Brady forgot how to throw a perfect spiral. They’re just shaking off the rust. Don’t take too much away from the first week of practice.

Remember 2007? Randy Moss pulled a hammy the first week of practice and everyone sounded the alarms, saying Moss was over the hill and his blockbuster trade was ill-advised. He then set the record for most TD receptions in a regular season. Leave fat Albert alone. He’ll be fine.


Haynesworth Headache?

Albert Haynesworth is about to become a New England Patriot. Well that is if tubs can pass his physical and conditioning exam (remember it took him a few tries last summer). If you were like me, and wondered why the Patriots repeatedly neglected to draft an interior pass rusher in the 2011 NFL draft, this is why. If you wondered why Bob Kraft and the New England Patriots were the first team to sign the new CBA and NFL agreement, this is why.

After two years of animosity in Washington (when isn’t there anger among Redskins fans?) and rule changes to the max salary that vetran players can make, the once most sought after defensive free agent in 2009 has made himself available to free agency. In doing so, the sticker price for Haynesworth has plummeted, making the 6 million dollar acquisition a no brainer for the Patriots. While Shanahan and the Redskins are relieved to move this million dollar money sink (his 100 million contract guaranteed 41 million before the CBA was passed), Pats fans seem generally happy that we have yet another Shamu-like-body to clog the offensive line and stop the run game, not to mention a guy that thrives in the interior pass rush (which we so desperately need). Richard Seymour’s vacancy has now been filled. Returning are the days when the Patriots D isn’t considered a vulgar word.

But what about the Haynesworth headaches? His refusal to play in a 3-4, which the Patriots use more than the 4-3. Sure he’ll be great in sub packages, but he won’t be an every down player unless he buys into the Belichick system. Given his history with coaches and his willingness to voice unhappiness, odds are we’ll find out sooner rather than later if that’s the case.

Can Belicheck break Mr. Haynesworth? I’m going with probably. Billy B’s got that Obama-like death stare that can freeze the loudest of malcontents with just a side-long glance. He knows how good his team is, and expects professionalism (and a playoff berth) every season. I heard he once invoked prima noctum on Giselle, just so Brady wouldn’t let the success go to his head.

New England and Belichick do have a history of turning primadona players into top producing, team-first assets (just look at Randy Moss and Corey Dillion), and I’m guessing Haynesworth will get in line because he’s simply just sick and tired of playing with pretender teams. (Fat) Albert and Vince Wilfork combined weigh nearly 700 lbs, and will tear up anything in front of them (whether it’s a running back or all-you-can-eat buffet). “You know me, I’m always hungry, baby”:

In football (and other areas) size matters and the Patriots defense just got a whole lot BIGGER. Throw in sophomores and former Gators, Spikes and Cunningham, behind these guys and I guarantee you that we’ll be seeing Mark Sanchez eat a lot of astroturf. Did I mention the J-E-T-S still S-U-C-K?

Now all the Pats need to do is sign Braylon Edwards, and (knock on wood) back to back championships here we come! Man it is good to have football back!