Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Study: Haynesworth still a top-three DT
By Dan Graziano
Hold onto your pig-shaped hats, Redskins fans, because you just might not believe this. According to a study by our pals at Pro Football Focus, Albert Haynesworth ranks as the third-best 4-3 defensive tackle in the NFL over the past three years:
Fair to say things haven’t gone exactly to plan in Washington for the former Titan. Staggeringly though, when he’s been on the field he continues to be as good a DT as there is out there (even though he may be as scrutinized a defensive player as there is). Despite the pretty low sack totals in Washington, in his first year there, he was a top five defensive tackle and not that far off his best year. Even last year he generated pressure in the sub package defense. If you can get him playing his best then he’s a bargain whatever the price.
The key phrase here, of course, is "when he's been on the field." Frankly, I'm a little bit amazed Haynesworth even qualified for the list, since it required players to play "50% of the average snap total of the five highest in that department in the past three years." But his presence on the list underscores the shame of what's gone on in Washington with Haynesworth, who just turned 30 last month and really should have been a difference-making force for the Redskins over the past two seasons.
It also illustrates the reason Haynesworth will be in some demand when the Redskins take him out on the trade market once the lockout ends. There are defensive coordinators and line coaches out there who are convinced they can coach something out of Haynesworth and who are salivating at the idea of bringing him in at a discount and getting some semblance of the guy who dominated in Tennessee in 2008. One of those line coaches is former Titans line coach Jim Washburn, now with the Eagles, who's no doubt sure he can make something special out of Haynesworth. I'm betting Mike Shanahan agrees, which is why I can't imagine any scenario under which the Redskins trade Big Al to Philadelphia.
But he'll go somewhere, and he'll probably play very well wherever it is, giving Redskins fans another reason to pull their hair out.
Incidentally, Philadelphia's Brodrick Bunkley ranks seventh on this list for his run-stopping ability alone. And Seattle's Brandon Mebane is sixth, which is noteworthy because he's going to be a free agent and will be very high on the wish list of 4-3 teams looking for interior defensive line help.