Report from Pats Camp:
On the field: All eyes on number 85, Chad Ochocinco, and number 92, Albert Haynesworth, at the first practice after the CBA got ratified, which meant every player could practice. Ocho must have been tight. He dropped a 50-yard pass from Tom Brady when he got two long strides on a corner while running a post route. "OhhhhhhhHHHHHHH!'' the crowd said. He clanged a 15-yard cross from Brady -- again, right in his hands. Leigh Bodden broke up another ball that looked like it was right in his hands. Tom Brady threw him one in the end zone, the offense practicing against air in the red zone. Boink. Another drop. Awful practice for the Ocho. But I doubt there'll be many of those.
Haynesworth played right tackle and Vince Wilfork left. After a few drills, Haynesworth jogged to his next one. One source in Washington had said this about Haynesworth: "You watch. He'll practice hard for Belichick, and he'll play great for him. I don't know where else he'd do that.''
It's way too early to make a single judgment about Haynesworth, good or bad. He's got to practice hard all camp, then play the way he played his last season in Tennessee, when he convinced Washington he was worth the ridiculous contract. Which, of course, he wasn't.
But I expect you'll see the Patriots do just what they did a lot in this practice during the season -- play a four-man front with Haynesworth and Wilfork inside. Will teams double both? One? And who will they double if it's just one? Wilfork has done it all on the line, but he's probably best suited to take on and occupy two blockers at the point, freeing Haynesworth to penetrate. There are many ifs, and another big one is Haynesworth, who has never been Jack LaLanne in the offseason conditioning department, staying on the field.
I asked Wilfork about the potential of the line if Haynesworth stayed on the right path. "I tell you what, if he doesn't, he's out of here, and he knows it. He knows he has some baggage, and he wants to turn it around,'' Wilfork said.
But having Haynesworth around will mean Bill Belichick can do what he does best -- design ways to use Haynesworth best, not forcing him into the middle of a 3-4 and ticking him off.
"Bill runs schemes based on the players he has, not the other way around,'' said Vinny Cerrato, the former Redskin personnel man who pushed Dan Snyder to sign Haynesworth. "When Albert was a free agent, he didn't talk to any teams in free agency who played the 3-4. He wanted nothing to do with it. Things have changed now, but Bill's smart. He'll know how to use him.''