According to nfl.com, the Redskins had 40 sacks in 2009, for an average of 2.5 per game. The total was well above 2008 production, and much of the credit was and has been given to free agent signee DT Albert Haynesworth.
Haynesworth himself had just four sacks – his lowest total since 2006 – but ends Andre Carter & Brian Orakpo each had 11 sacks. That marked the first time since 2000 (Bruce Smith-10, Marco Coleman-12) that Washington boasted two double-digit sack men, but still a far cry from the 28+ put up by Charles Mann & Dexter Manley in both 1984 and 1985.
Through week 6, the team had 15 sacks and everyone was gushing:
- DE Phillip Daniels: “Albert’s the key, the way he penetrates. Teams try to slide protection his way or double him so everybody else is one-on-one.”
- D-line coach John Palermo: “Albert only has [two] sacks, but he’s probably created another four or five because he has made the quarterback alter his looks.”
- HC Jim Zorn: “The one guy who has really benefited [from Haynesworth’s presence] is Andre. He’s coming screaming around the end.”
By November, Carter was saying that his sack total was “definitely a tribute to [Albert] Haynesworth… one thing about him, when you watch the film and analyze it, is he sacrifices his body. I mean, he’s a big man, so when you see him dive for a tackle, that’s 300-plus pounds of man there, so sometimes you get banged up. But one thing about him: he’ll tape it up and come back.” Really?
In the same month, Rick Maese of the Washington Post wrote that the Redskins’ increased sack total was “thanks largely to the addition of Albert Haynesworth at defensive tackle.”
Colleague Jason Reid wrote in March of this year that “despite all the criticism of Haynesworth last season, there is no denying the impact he had on the defense. His presence in the middle of the line helped to elevate the level of play of the entire defense.”
Just last month, ESPN’s John “baby” Clayton penned: “Even though injuries limited Haynesworth to 12 games in 2009, his presence was felt. Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo each had 11-sack seasons, taking advantage of the blocking attention given to Haynesworth.”
In looking at the numbers, the sack totals were actually higher without Big Al than with. The biggest day of the year came at Oakland, when Orakpo & Carter totaled 4 & 2, respectively, and the team posted 8. Haynesworth? He never saw the field that Sunday.
(click to enlarge)