After all, the big fella wasn’t even part of the Jets’ game plan for this weekend’s hyped showdown between the AFC Rivals.
When Jets head coach Rex Ryan was asked Wednesday if he was surprised of Haynesworth’s release, Ryan responded, “No, to be honest with you, our concern wasn’t Albert Haynesworth. Whether you believe it or not, they’ve got a lot of big guys.”
Ryan wasn’t done brushing off Haynesworth’s minimal impact, either.
“Haynesworth, I’m sure he does have some good ability and things like that, but he wasn’t a guy that we were absolutely concerned with,” Ryan said.
Haynesworth made some impactful plays for the Patriots, no doubt, but he crushed his teammates with inconsistency, both in games and practice. There were rumblings during Wednesday’s locker room session that some of Haynesworth’s former teammates didn’t see the work ethic that was necessary for him to reach his potential on an every-down basis, and the release didn’t really appear to shock anyone.
“What the coaching staff does obviously is for our team to be competitive on Sunday,” linebacker Rob Ninkovich said. “Whatever their decision is, we respect anything that they do. Come Sunday, you go out there and you give your best effort for the team.”
Head coach Bill Belichick briefly addressed the roster transaction, saying they “really tried to make it work.” And at the end of the day, the decision was solely based on Haynesworth’s situation — not the depth the Patriots have at the position.
Vince Wilfork is obviously the Patriots’ top defensive tackle, but Kyle Love and Gerard Warren were also ahead of Haynesworth on the depth chart. Ron Brace, who made his season debut Sunday, replaced Haynesworth in the team’s goal-line package that includes four defensive tackles.
Love took the news in stride, noting he’ll get a few more snaps per game now that Haynesworth is no longer in the mix.
“I just know I have to step up even more now,” Love said. “Probably get a little bit more playing time, so I’ve just got to step up a little bit more.”