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BOSTON (CBS) – Albert Haynesworth made his New England Patriots debut in Monday Night’s 38-24 win over the Dolphins, and although there is still some rust to knock off, said he felt great in the victory.
“It felt like football. It felt good,” said Haynesworth, who registered two tackles. “It felt good to be on the field, felt good to get a victory in the first game, and it always felt good for our offense score a lot of points.”
After spending two seasons with the Washington Redskins, and coming under a lot of scrutiny for not living up to a max contract, Haynesworth said it was great to feel wanted in New England.
“It’s always good to feel needed, to get out there and play and earn my check,” he said. “I thought I was going to fit in well. They brought me in, talked to coach; he was the first person I talked to. He told me things we were going to do and I was down for it. He told me he wanted me to play, he told me he wanted me to rush and knock people on the other side of the ball and be disruptive. That’s what I do.”
Although he did not register a sack or any of the Patriots 10 quarterback hits, Haynesworth made his presence felt. He took down Dolphins running back Reggie Bush with a one-armed tackle in the first quarter.
Still, he knows there is a lot of room for improvement; both individually and as a defensive unit.
“Everywhere. Every aspect of my game,” Haynesworth said of what needs to be fine tuned. “The only time I don’t need to improve is when I’m making every play, every game. Every tackle, every sack, every interception; anything like that. Other than that, I need to improve.”
“If we want to be a great defense, we have to allow less points. We can’t let them score 24 points,” the new defensive end said of the Dolphins, who racked up 488 yards of total offense.
“We gave up too many yards,” nose tackle Vince Wilfork agreed. “(We have to) get off the field more. Just little things, but we’ll tighten those things up and move forward.”
Haynesworth benefited from a revolving door of defenders, allowing him to play a few downs and then get some rest on the sidelines. Along with Wilfork, Miami had to pick and choose which player to double team, opening the gates for other pass rushers like Andre Carter and Mark Anderson, who each registered a sack. Myron Pryor and Dane Fletcher also benefited from the attention the two juggernaut defensive linemen commanded, combining for five quarterback hits.
“You can’t double too many people,” Wilfork joked, noting it was a full team effort on defense. “It was so many people that rotated in and gave us breaks and played very, very well. And that’s one thing we’re going to take advantage of.”
“We have defensive tackles here that could play and start on any other team. We have a great rotation,” said Haynesworth.
Of course it helped he is on the same side as Tom Brady, who set a Patriots franchise record with 517 passing yards.
“I’m glad I’m not on the other side of the ball, I’ll tell you that much. Against him, shoot. I thought that was a dream,” he said of Brady’s performance. “When they tied it up 14-14, even when I was with the Titans we thought we couldn’t let them score more than 16-17 points. I was getting nervous. But he just went out there again, threw it down the field and scored another touchdown. He just kept doing it. I was amazed.”