With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers adding defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth via waivers, and with plenty of people wondering precisely what the Buccaneers are thinking, G.M. Mark Dominik has provided a window into the team’s thought processes.
“This is predicated on losing Gerald McCoy,” Dominik told Albert Breer of NFL.com. “If that doesn’t happen, this doesn’t happen, we don’t claim Haynesworth. The reality, we lost Gerald for the season, we’re 4-4 and still in the thick of it, we’ve lost our last two and we’re one game off the wild card. We don’t think we’re out of it.”
Haynesworth will be out of it, quickly, if he doesn’t do what he’s told.
“Sure it is,” Dominik said in response to the question of whether the leash on Haynesworth is short. “He does have history, of course. But at the end of the day, you talk to anyone in the NFL, week to week, and you know you can be the hero one week, and be the villain the next. It’s tough for any player under that scrutiny. But that’s the nature of our business. He’s gonna have a shorter leash, but if he’s prepared and ready to play, he’ll play.”
But even if Haynesworth is kept on a short leash, the question remains whether they should have put him on a leash at all. The Bucs have a recent history of employing folks who find trouble off the field. Why welcome another one?
Still, Dominik was sold by watching film of each of Haynesworth’s snaps with the Patriots. “I saw disruption,” Dominik said. “I saw strength, a finisher, a guy with the ability to put a lot of pressure on an offense. He’s still able to be a penetrating force. He can hit it and go. I didn’t see as much dogging it, but I did see the last play, where he played a 1-gap technique, and I can see why it got them frustrated. He opened up the run lane, and [Brandon] Jacobs walked in the end zone. That said, I didn’t see a guy that didn’t care. He battled and competed. I think he’s worthy of an opportunity.”
Of all 32 teams in the NFL, the Buccaneers are the only team who felt that way.