Morning Links: Around the NFL
Albert Haynesworth Starts Plays Whole Preseason Game: On a day where all the starters and even a few key backups didn’t even dress, Big Al played in every quarter. Now while that didn’t probably sit too well with Haynesworth, hopefully it means that the Redskins are ready to start him next week in the season opener. And it should fully refute the asinine report from earlier in the week that said the Redskins might consider making Haynesworth inactive for week one. Now I don’t think his game last night was as impressive, but throughout the preseason no Redskins defensive lineman had more penetration and was more of a force than Haynesworth. And that was true whether he was playing against a starting offensive line or the 3rd string. It might not be easy for Redskins fans and coaches to admit, but Haynesworth is by far their most impact defender. Even if he isn’t getting sacks or tackles for a loss, he is collapsing pockets, occupying blockers, and forcing a few penalties. If the Redskins have any hope of upsetting the Dallas Cowboys next weekend, they will need Haynesworth to play. With any luck, last night’s game ‘worked’ him into the football shape the team is looking for.
Steelers Lose Another Quarterback: Pittsburgh will already be without Ben Roethlisberger for the first four weeks (at least), now may be without his replacement for an extended period of time. Byron Leftwich sprained his left knee yesterday and could miss a couple of weeks. The injury was serious enough that the team took him to the hospital for an MRI. While the extent of the injury is unknown, the quarterback job now falls on 3rd year pro Dennis Dixon, with veteran Charlie Batch as his backup. Dixon has had an up and down preseason, but has shown a good bit of promise these past two years. He came out of a spread offense at Oregon, and is equally capable of beating a team with his legs as well as his arm. He still needs to work on his decision making, but he has the upside. It might not be the most ideal situation for the Steelers, but with the right coaching and a little luck, they should be able to survive the suspension of Roethlisberger.
Vincent Jackson Could Be Dealt This Weekend: The Chargers seem like they will try to make a big push this weekend to trade their All-Pro Receiver Vincent Jackson. If they don’t deal him by Saturday, Jackson won’t be able to ‘report’ on time and will need to sit out the first 6 weeks (he has a 3 game league mandated suspension, and then would have the failure to report suspension). Jackson’s value will significantly decrease after this Saturday, so it is in the Chargers best interest to find a workable deal in the next two days. Seattle and the Vikings have shown some interest, and the Redskins and Rams have weak receiving corps, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a there is another team under the radar looking to make a move. The real issue for the Chargers is Jackson won’t bring back the kind of return they are looking for, and I think they would be lucky to get more than a 3rd round pick at this time. It will remain to be seen if the Chargers can work out an agreeable deal, but I have to think this gets done.