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Damien Woody on D&C: This is Albert Haynesworth’s last chance

09.09.11 at 10:57 am ET
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Recently retired offensive lineman and current ESPN football analyst Damien Woody joined Dennis & Callahan Friday morning. The former Boston College star said he thinks defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth will fare well on one of Woody’s former teams, the Patriots.

“[Haynesworth] can still be a dominant force in the league,” Woody said. “If you ask any offensive linesman when Albert Haynesworth was in Tennessee and playing in that 4-3 scheme, he was an animal. Bill [Belichick] does a great job of revitalizing guys’ careers.”

Haynesworth remains a question mark after playing in just one preseason game for the Patriots, but the former Redskin has had nothing but positive things to say about his short time in New England so far. Woody said that he thinks this is Haynesworth’s final shot to revitalize his career and return to the level that he played at in Tennessee.

“To be frank, if it doesn’t happen now, it’s never going to happen,” Woody said of Haynesworth. “This is probably his last chance. This will be his last chance to really show what he’s capable of doing, and you’re with a winning organization. So, I think this guy could definitely have an impact for the team.

“He’s a talented guy, there’s no question about that. Now the question is: Does he want it? It’s all on him. Does he want it bad enough? So, we’ll see how it goes.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On which of his former teams he would return to play for, the Patriots or the Jets: “I love both organizations. People in New York know how I speak loyally about the team. And the reason I speak loyally about the Jets is because they gave me an opportunity when I was with the Lions. I had only played five games at tackle. So they really gave me a shot as a starting right tackle and things worked out well.

“But my time in New England was priceless. I’ve always said Bill is the best coach I’ve ever played for, he’s the smartest guy. Just his genius as far as strategy and preparation and stuff like that. But I also have my love for Rex [Ryan]. So, I’m torn on that one, I can’t really give an answer.”

On if it was a culture shock going from the Patriots to the Lions: “Oh, man, I needed a defibrillator, it was definitely a shock. When you go from the mountain top and then you go the valley, you just aren’t used to everything, from the preparation to the players that we had in the locker room. I could go on and on and on, but it was definitely a culture shock. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out well, but it looks like the Lions are back on their way to respectability. But it was definitely a shock for me.”

On how the Colts will do without Peyton Manning if he sits out the entire season: “I think they’re worse than .500. The team is built solely around Peyton Manning. This is team is built to get up the pace fast, score fast and then let Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis and that defense run up the field and create havoc when they have a nice cushion, a two-touchdown lead or something like that. That’s how that team is built. Now they have to be more methodical now. There’s not going to be any of that Peyton Manning on the field and hurry-up offense and everybody hanging on for dear life. Now it’s going to be more traditional where plays are going to be sent in from the sideline, like pretty much every other team in the National Football League. So, now I think you’re going to see a drastic drop-off in the way that team works.

On who he likes to win the AFC East: “I like the Patriots. With coach Belichick and Tom Brady, for a team that is ‘rebuilding,’ they went 14-2 last year. They added a couple of pieces I really like, I think Shaun Ellis is going to help them this year, Albert Haynesworth is going to help them in that 4-3 defense. Some of the younger guys that they had last year, I think another year in the system is going to help. The team is strong. They’re going to battle with the Jets, but I just think at the end of the day, like Rex said, I don’t know if any other team can really beat the Patriots besides maybe the Jets. So that could be the real difference.”

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Bill Belichick, Damien Woody, Peyton Manning
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