Bucs gambling with Haynesworth

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth walks off the field during a game against the Chargers at...

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth walks off the field during a game against the Chargers at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., Sep. 18, 2011. (JIM ROGASH/Getty Images/AFP)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:10 PM ET

TORONTO - Desperate times call for desperate measures but Tampa Bay’s decision on Wednesday to claim Albert Haynesworth off waivers looks more like a panic move.

Do the Bucs really believe that where Bill Belichick failed, Raheem Morris can work wonders?

Haynesworth, a 350-pound defensive tackle, he of the one-time $100-million US contract who is a Washington Redskins washout, a New England Patriots failure, has now become the player that the fading Bucs hope can turn their season around.

The 4-4 Buccaneers have lost two in a row and now sit in third spot in the NFC South. They are looking up at two teams — the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints — that are moving forward and have more talent, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Defensively, the Bucs are also hurting as in Sunday’s loss to the Saints, they also lost defensive tackle Gerald McCoy for the season.

With their next two games drawing Houston and a road trip to Green Bay, the Bucs need to turn things around in a hurry but it’s hard to believe that Haynesworth is the guy that is up to the task.

At least the gamble won’t be much of a financial hit for the Bucs no matter how things turn out. Haynesworth’s contract this seasons calls for $1.5 million in base salary, which means his cost to the Bucs the rest of the season will be just $705,882.

With New England, Haynesworth has to be considered a failed project, a dud.

In his final game, Sunday against the Giants, he was shoved around the field and engaged in a heated argument with defensive line coach Pepper Johnson in the third quarter. The spat put him on the bench for the remainder of the game and turned out to be the final straw for the Patriots.

Haynesworth appeared in six of eight games with the Patriots and was not much of a force or playmaker. His defence stats for the season consist of three tackles.

The other day, he was blistered by Hall of Famer and former Bucs great Warren Sapp in an interview with NESN. Sapp said Haynesworth was never a top talent, that he was overpaid and exceedingly lazy.

“The last thing you want to do is show up and be a turd that Belichick cuts,” Sapp said. “But that’s what he was.

“A hundred million dollars couldn’t motivate you, and neither could Bill Belichick. Who wants this challenge?”

Well, apparently the Bucs and Morris.

What really got under Sapp’s skin was Haynesworth being talked about as being one of the greats after Washington signed him to his mega-contract.

“A lazy guy playing the motor, defensive tackle position, and now you’re the standard?” Sapp said. “It just didn’t go together for me. I don’t remember this guy playing like this, except when it was time to collect the contract. Don’t go to his contract year. Go two years before the contract. Go three years before. He was a 21/2-sack guy for five years. You don’t wake up and all of a sudden become the most dominant defender in the game. It doesn’t happen overnight. But for some reason, for that guy, it did.”

Now Haynesworth will be looking to restore his credibility on a third team.

After being acquired by the Patriots in the off-season he appeared to be contrite and said all the right things. He was coming from a nightmare experience in Washington to an organization that was a winner and full of class.

“It’s a chance to restore my name,” Haynesworth said at the time. “It’s a great chance to get back on the field and to show that Albert Haynesworth can still play football.”

All he showed the Patriots was that he can’t and his time is done.

Now it’s the Buccaneers time to prove they’ve made a mistake.

NO COMFORT FOR CAM

With each additional week and game, the arise and applause increases for Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback.

Starting the season with an army of doubters waiting for him to do a face plant, the overall No. 1 pick in last spring’s draft has been a sensation.

Newton, though, is having none of that.

“If anything, I feel like I’ve failed myself due to this game is about wins and losses,” Newton said in a recent radio interview. “And I’m not hanging my hat on no 2-6 season and we still have an opportunity to change that.”

As far as Newton is concerned, there’s really nothing to celebrate just yet.

“I really haven’t had the opportunity to just soak it all in and take everything in. Nor am I trying to just sit back and say, ‘Man, look what I did,’” Newton said. “I still have things that I want to do.”

RAMS GET BOOST

The St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns meet on Sunday, two teams that have struggled on offence lately.

The Rams, though, will apparently be receiving a boost with the return of wide receiver Mark Clayton, while the Browns probably will be without wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.

On Wednesday, the Rams activated Mark Clayton from the PUP list and he is expected to be in the lineup on Sunday. Clayton has been out since a knee injury sidelined him in the fifth game of the 2010 season. In his rehab, he’s also experienced problems with his Achilles.

If he makes the field Sunday, he will give Bradford a veteran target and someone with whom he has worked well in the past.

Massaquoi, meanwhile, appears to be suffering from concussion-like symptoms. He suffered a concussion in a game against Seattle Oct. 23 and sat out the following week. He returned last Sunday against Houston but was forced to leave the game when the symptoms returned.

It will be a blow for the offensively challenged Browns who have scored just one touchdown in their past three games.


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