The Buccaneers just got a little bit better, if only on paper. On Wednesday, Tampa Bay claimed defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth off waivers after he was released by the Patriots. Hayneworth's release comes at an opportune time for the Bucs, who have placed Gerald McCoy on injured reserve after he suffered an arm injury against the Saints.
Essentially the Bucs have just made a low-risk, high reward type of signing (he's due just over $700K for the remainder of the season) that addresses a position of great need. We know he failed in New England, whatever the reason may be. But the real question is: can he have an impact on a tight race in the NFC South?
If you're a Falcons fan, then first and foremost you're hoping that this move doesn't affect Atlanta at all. Although Haynesworth has had his fair share of conditioning and/or disciplinary issues over the past few years, this is also the same that- in the right system- has the talent to still be a great player.
He totaled 14.5 sacks during his two final season in Tennessee while playing in Jeff Fischer's 4-3 defense. On the other hand, Haynesworth's failures came primarily while playing in the 3-4 for Washington and New England. Now that he's back in a 4-3, he may actually attain some level of success.
Regardless, he's in all likelihood an upgrade over current starter Roy Miller, and his presence could very well improve a Bucs defense currently allowing the fourth-most yards per game, league-wide. Should Raheem Morris discover a way to effectively use Haynesworth (and also assuming fat Albert can get over himself-- a dangerous assumption), he could surprise some folks.
Though we'll likely find out in the coming weeks how this pickup will play out, all of a sudden the week 17 Bucs-Falcons matchup is looking mighty big-time on paper. Here's hoping the disgruntled, 350 lb. tackle doesn't play a big role in that game.