Haynesworth got off to a nice start in the afternoon, blowing up a few offensive linemen and making plays in both group and team defensive work. But then he was taken to the ground on a partial cut block and afterwards was seen down on one knee talking to the training staff. He did not take any more reps on the afternoon, finishing the day standing near defensive line coach Pepper Johnson while watching his new teammates. He then did ab work with other injured players while veterans did some conditioning at the end of practice.
Haynesworth’s participation indicates that he’s passed Bill Belichick’s conditioning run, a prerequisite for any player to begin working out in training camp. Based on Haynesworth’s issues with Mike Shanahan’s conditioning run last summer, that at least a positive sign for Patriots fans.
Now Haynesworth – who starred as a 4-3 tackles with the Titans and balked at playing nose tackle and just about every other position in the 3-4 last year for Shanahan – can begin the process of finding a role for himself on the New England defensive front.
“I think with any player, you’re trying to identify their strengths and their weakness, what they do well,” Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio responded when asked in his morning press conference how Haynesworth might fit in. “The reality is, any player we bring into this program, they’re going to define what their role is going to be with their performance and what they do on the field. The more they can do and they can execute those assignments and those techniques, then they’ll be put in that position. But the players are going to determine what their role ultimately is on the team.
“But Albert’s been a good football player in this league, he’s big, he’s strong, he’s athletic and he’s a disruptive player. I think we’ve always taken the approach that if the guy’s a good football player, we’ll find a way to use him. In the end, it’s up to the player to determine what his role is going to be moving forward.”
Haynesworth -- who was listed at 350 in Washington, but shows up at 335 on the New England roster -- actually looked relatively svelte on his 6-6 frame.
Who’s hot: Albert Haynesworth – Haynesworth got off to a nice start in his first practice, shooting a gap to meet a running back in the backfield in an interior, half-line running drill. Later he blew up a couple more offensive linemen in group and team work, seeming to catch the likes of
Play of the Day:
Jermaine to the situation
The Patriots have used a lot of four-man fronts to open training camp, including sets on Sunday that saw
In those sets second-year player
“We’re just starting up our defense and just doing the same thing going out there playing defense,” Cunningham said, downplaying talk of more 4-3 work.
Regardless of the front, Cunningham knows he’s expected to make a big jump in his second season.
“That’s my goal coming into every season since college, just keep getting better,” Cunningham said. “I feel like that’s my job right now and that’s what I’m going to do.
“I just try to absorb from everybody, just be like a sponge.”
Law Firm on the way; Light too?
According to Caserio, restricted free agent running back
“We’re talking to Benny. I would think that at some point here during the week, I think he’s going to be here,” Caserio offered. “When the players that sign or are under contract are here, they’ll be out there. But we’re talking to a number of players and I’d say that’s fair that Benny falls into that category, sure.”
Caserio was less specific about the future for Pro Bowl left tackle
“I think with a lot of players, conversations are ongoing, we’ve had discussions with multiple players whether it be the rookies, whether it be some of our free agents,” Caserio said when asked for an update on Light. “Matt’s been a good player for us for a long time. I’d say there are discussions that are ongoing. I don’t want to put a time table on it, but Matt’s made a lot of contributions to this team. He’s been a good player for us, so we’ll see what happens.”
Though most of the players have gone with the “it is what it is” and “that’s in the past” theory in regards what was lost during the lockout, Caserio was a little more honest in his assessment as to where the Patriots are at this point in camp compared to where they might have been in a normal year.
“I think we have a long way to go,” Caserio said. “Those first two days, you want to look at as sort of an acclimation period and then the first day with pads. I think the biggest thing is where we are right now. Once you put the pads, the focus is on the improvement and the individual techniques and the fundamentals. Those are the areas and those are things that if you don’t work on them on a consistent basis, on a day-to-day basis from the end of the season up until training camp, those are the things that go quickly. The important thing is to have that fundamental baseline whether it’s throwing and catching – we dropped a snap during one of the run periods yesterday – or getting in and out of breaks, safeties taking to get to their landmarks, taking the correct routes. The basic fundamentals as it applies to their positions, I think that’s where we really have a lot of work to do. We have a long way to go.
“I would say probably just the overall conditioning is probably not where it needs to be, but it’s part of the process and we’re going to work as hard as we can to get our players to that [level] and our expectations aren’t going to change; we are going to demand the same things that we normally demand of them and they understand that. And it’s their job to work on things on their own when they can. I think the fundamentals and the individual techniques and the communication, those are the things that I think we’re a little bit of a ways off on right now and hopefully that will improve the more we’re out there and the more the players are working with one another.”
The only player inexplicably absent from the morning walkthrough was running back