Still no word on Defensive Coordinator but Jim Washburn is already affecting the Eagles defensive upgrade. One reason the Eagles fired defensive line coach Rory Segrest was the development Jason Babin made in Tennessee after leaving Philadelphia. One of the bonuses of hiring Jim Washburn may be getting Babin back – and luring Albert Haynesworth!!!
Jason Babin, who had 2 1/2 sacks in 2009 in his one year playing under Segrest with the Eagles, spent this past season playing under Washburn with the Titans and blossomed in his seventh NFL season, recording 12 1/2 sacks and earning his first Pro Bowl selection. Babin finished sixth in the NFL in sacks and second among defensive ends, recording more in one season with the Titans than he had in the previous four years with four teams. Babin credits Washburn for his late-career emergence, and now he says he may follow Washburn back to Philly and advocate pursuing Haynesworth.
Babin is an unrestricted free agent — or will be if a Collective Bargaining Agreement is ever signed. On Wednesday, he told a Nashville newspaper that he would consider returning to the Eagles now that his position coach is here. Once he is an unrestricted UFA, all it takes is money and willingness to negotiate.
Albert Haynesworth’s career is in tatters these days (well “tatters” may be a bit strong for a $100 million player). He’s coming off a miserable second season with the Redskins, which started with him failing to pass the Redskins’ conditioning test and trying unsuccessfully to fit into the Redskins’ 3-4 scheme. 2010 ended with Haynesworth managing just 2 1/2 sacks and 13 tackles before being suspended for the final four games of the season by head coach Mike Shanahan for conduct detrimental to the team.
Haynesworth has five years left on the seven-year, $100 million contract he signed with the Redskins just 23 months ago, but he does not appear to fit into the Redskins’ plans. It was in Tennessee under Washburn that Haynesworth enjoyed his greatest success. Washburn was the Oilers’ and Titans’ defensive line coach from 1998 until Wednesday, when he left Nashville to accept the same position on Andy Reid’s staff with the Eagles. Haynesworth has always spoke highly of Washburn, his position coach from his rookie year in 2002 through 2008, his final season with the Titans.
“Once you get used to it, you realize he’s trying to help you. He expresses it a different way. He’s going to express his feelings. I didn’t think I could take it, but I did, and he helped me out a lot, and by the end of the year, I was starting and playing great. I hope everybody takes him seriously. It’s not a personal thing, it’s a professional thing.”
At the prime of his career, Haynesworth was a devastating run stuffer and active pass rusher. He went to the Pro Bowl after the 2007 and 2008 seasons and was named to the Associated Press all-pro team both years. Haynesworth, 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, is only 29 years old. He was the 15th pick in the 2002 draft out of Tennessee. Haynesworth has 30 1/2 career sacks, including a career-high 8 1/2 in 2008. The Eagles’ opening-day starting defensive tackles, Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson, have a combined 19 career sacks, 13 for Patterson in six NFL seasons and just six for Bunkley in five seasons. The last three years, they have just six total sacks. The Eagles’ top sack producer from the defensive tackle spot this past season was reserve Trevor Laws, with a career-high four. Antoinio Dixon, who replaced Bunkley after Bunkley suffered an elbow injury, had two. The last defensive tackle the Eagles had with eight or more sacks in a season was Corey Simon, who recorded 9 1/2 as a rookie in 2000.
Haynesworth is more than a guy who ,when healthy and motivated, is a relentless pass rusher who can collapse the pocket. He’s also highly regarded run stuffer, something the Eagles could have used in their last two playoff losses, when they allowed Dallas’ Felix Jones to rush for 148 yards and Green Bay’s James Starks run for 122. Now imagine Haynesworth AND Jason Babin…
Impediments of course would be that this is neither a fantasy league nor are we playing a video game. If we want these players in Eagles green, we need to figure out a way to make it work in terms of GREEN! Although Haynesworth’s contract is worth $100 million, he’s already received $35.6 million of that from the Redskins, and his base salaries the next two years are relatively modest — $5.4 million in 2011 and $6.7 million in 2012. He’s due $28.5 million in 2013, including a $20 million bonus, so whoever takes on his contract — if anybody does — is virtually certain to release him after the 2012 season.
Complicating matters is the NFL’s labor situation. Until there’s a CBA, NFL teams cannot execute trades, so unless the Redskins release Haynesworth — making him an unrestricted free agent — the Eagles wouldn’t be able to acquire him even if they wanted to do so. Once the CBA is settled, the Eagles could very likely put together a deal with Washington for a 2nd and 4th Round Draft Picks and possibly a player or two. Send them Bunkley and Dixon. Maybe every year we’ll make a trade with Washington.
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org