TAMPA — Mark Dominik did not talk to anyone with the Patriots or Redskins before claiming troubled but talented defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth off waivers Wednesday.
Instead, the Bucs general manager watched tape of the 134 snaps Haynesworth played with the Patriots this season — twice — and counted seven quarterback pressures and 15 disruptive plays to go with what he calculated to be only eight tackles.
"Which isn't tremendous, I agree with that," Dominik said.
But for all the analysis, what really made Dominik pull the trigger on Haynesworth is the paralysis of the Bucs defensive line with the season-ending torn bicep injury to Gerald McCoy, the third overall pick in 2010.
Tampa Bay ranks next to last in the NFL with 12 sacks, only two in the past four games. What's more, with no push inside, opponents have focused their blocking schemes on doubling defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Michael Bennett.
"I can say candidly that if Gerald wasn't hurt, I probably wouldn't make this move," Dominik said. "But because of the situation we're in, I feel like Albert Haynesworth has the best ability of any defensive tackle out there. For me, it made sense as an organization to bring him on board. … It'll be up to him and how he plays and how he performs."
Haynesworth, 30, nearly signed with Tampa Bay in 2009 before opting for a seven-year, $100 million contract offer from the Redskins. But when Washington switched to a 3-4 defensive alignment in 2010, Haynesworth was combative about becoming a two-gap nose tackle. His disenchantment led to a season of acrimony with coach Mike Shanahan and paved the way for his trade to New England after the NFL lockout.
A 2002 first-round pick and two-time All-Pro with Tennessee, Haynesworth had 14½ sacks in his final two years with the Titans. But coaches have questioned his effort over the past three seasons in which he has notched only 6½ sacks, making a total of six tackles in six games for the Patriots.
The final coffin nail for the 6-foot-6, 350-pound Haynesworth in New England came in Sunday's 24-20 loss to the Giants. According to reports, Haynesworth failed to play the right technique on Brandon Jacobs' 10-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, had words with defensive line coach Pepper Johnson and never played another snap for New England.
"I think a thing that I'm going to bank on a little bit here is our defense and what we ask the 3-technique to do," Dominik said. " … It made sense to me to put the claim in for a guy I think can help us in this second-half stretch."
The Bucs will be on the hook for roughly half of Haynesworth's $1.5 million salary in 2011. He is under contract for 2012 at $6.7 million, though Dominik was clear that his tenure in Tampa Bay initially will be evaluated "week to week."
Minutes before the Bucs' claim of Haynesworth, defensive line coach Keith Millard lamented the loss of McCoy and how it impacted the defensive line. Tampa Bay has only two healthy defensive tackles, Brian Price and Roy Miller.
"As soon as (McCoy) went down, they doubled (Price), and now if you don't have the speed or the quickness to whip guys one-on-one, now what they do is start chipping your ends," Millard said.
Then came the announcement of Haynesworth, which viewed in a vacuum seemed out of character for the Bucs who have mostly ignored veteran players during free agency.
"We've had a lot of star power here in the past," Dominik said. "We've been able to handle it."
What did Dominik see of Haynesworth on tape?
"That he can be strong, powerful, dominating, disruptive, still," he said. "He can overpower his opponent. … He's not one these older players who can't play anymore. I just want him to play our way."