Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik stopped to visit with the media during Wednesday afternoon’s practice and commented on Albert Haynesworth and Tampa Bay’s play so far.
Tampa Bay’s newly acquired defensive tackle wasn’t on the field for today’s practice and Dominik explained why.
“Albert is obviously a 30 year old veteran and has played a lot of football in his career,” Dominik said. “He obviously came off a lot of snaps this last game. And we are going to be smart about how we are going to practice him. So every once in a while Albert is going to get a day off so we can make sure he will be ready to go on game days on Sunday. We are just going to limit him in terms of some of his practicing.”
The Buccaneers, along with several NFL teams, give older veteran players time off from practice occasionally to help keep them fresh. Include Haynesworth to that group according to Dominik.
“So if that means sometimes we feel like he needs two or three days off in a row, we are going to do that,” Dominik said. “If we feel is it just one day off – there is no set pattern how we are going to practice him. We just want to make sure we keep him in condition and ready to play for our team on Sundays when it matters. Like we give Winslow a day off every once in a while. Same thoughts. Same mindset.”
Dominik didn’t seem concerned about what Haynesworth might miss by not being on the field with his teammates.
“Obviously you like to have guys practicing,” Dominik said. “But the classroom work is where a lot of stuff (is learned). Albert has been through a lot of stuff on the field and he has familiarity in the 4-3 system and what we do. And we put him right in the defense in less than one week and he went out there and played 47 snaps for us.
“So sure you’d like to have him out here. But he can do the walk-through stuff that we have already done and it gives him a little bit of experience. In terms of pads and hitting and limiting of that exposure we are just going to make sure we keep him safe. Just like we do other players on our team from time to time.
The Bucs general manager was very pleased with the 10-year vet's production Sunday, especially considering the lack of practice time Haynesworth was able to participate in.
“I thought Albert for coming in on a short week and only practicing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – I thought he played well,” Dominik said. “Productive. What did he have, five or six tackles (five solo, two assists) and blocked an extra point? There were plays I think you saw on tape or at the game where he is diving at guys trying to make plays. You saw his strength and his ability to disrupt. That was encouraging and I think he enjoyed it too."
Much has been made of what Raheem Morris described as a couple of “loaf” plays last Sunday against the Texans. Dominik addressed the issue and explained the team’s philosophy.
“We have a high standard around here in terms of what a loaf is in terms of Buccaneers history,” Dominik said. “So when, and if effort is questioned, it is because we hold guys to a very high standard. Maybe some will see it as a lack of effort – but internally from our organization – that is how we pride ourselves as a football team is the way you play all the way through the down. We will continue to stress that I think out at practice.
“We are going through some growing pains obviously with this football team right now. But in terms of being panicked or desperate or worried, I’m not at that point.”