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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

On an ugly day, Albert Haynesworth has strong debut for Buccaneers



Perhaps it says something about the Bucs defense that DT Albert Haynesworth, on the roster for all of four days, was one of the team’s defensive standouts on Sunday.

As poorly as the defense played collectively, Haynesworth was one of its bright spots, stepping into the starting lineup at under tackle and creating consistent disruption in the Texans’ backfield. He finished with five tackles and a blocked extra point.
And it’s also telling that Haynesworth was a needed voice of reason in the Bucs’ huddle. He said that, at one point in the game, he tried to refocus his young teammates.

“(The mood) might have felt down or whatever,” said Haynesworth, 30. “But this is the NFL. You play for 60 minutes no matter what. I kind of said a little something and from there on we went on and played. We played hard and tried to finish the game.”
Haynesworth learned this is an area in which his new teammates need some work.

“I see the talent we have,” he said. “But what we do is, we’re a young team. Instead of letting a bad play go and wiping it out of your mind and going to play football, we let it pile on, we keep thinking about it and the result is another bad play. Our head coach came in and said blame it on him, but he didn’t play a snap of football. We have to take responsibility. We can’t let one bad play keep us down.”

Haynesworth certainly did not. He struggled from a conditioning standpoint having not played nearly as many snaps in New England, but Haynesworth was a factor throughout. Getting back to the role he played with the Titans three years ago, Haynesworth was charged with penetrating between the guard and tackle, and did so consistently. He said his recall from the Titans defense helped him compensate for his lack of knowledge of the Tampa Bay scheme.

“I still believe in myself that I can play football,” Haynesworth said. “Regardless of 4-3 or 3-4 (scheme), I think it’s the same because it’s football. But I think this team here fits me a little more.”

[Last modified: Sunday, November 13, 2011 6:25pm]


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