Haynes Accepting of Backup Role

Bourbonnais- Most former first round picks entering their third year in the league would pout about being relegated to backup duty. However, DE Michael Haynes is trying to make the best of his situation in Chicago.

The Bears want their defensive ends to do one thing, pressure the quarterback. The organization invested nearly $50 million last year in starters Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye. Meaning, there's little chance they'll be sitting anytime soon.

That leaves Haynes in a tricky situation. He was selected for the previous defensive scheme and is not suited for Lovie Smith's speed emphasized philosophy. Still, he wants to be a starter and justify being the 14th player chosen in the 2003 draft, but at this point he's third on the depth chart.

"You realize as a backup, you're a backup and unless the guy in front of you gets hurt or your game improves that much to where you can overtake them you're going to be a backup," Haynes said. "It's one of those things you have to accept because the last thing you want to do is feel sorry for yourself or get pissed off or try to sabotage something. Focus on what you do and try to be good at it."

What Haynes does well is clog up the line of scrimmage. At 274 pounds, he's the heaviest defensive end on the roster, which can be a blessing and a curse. It obviously helps him be a solid run stuffer. He will also have an opportunity to see additional reps on the interior of the d-line. In an attempt to disrupt the pocket on passing downs, he will be part of the defensive tackle rotation in the nickel package.

At the same time, his size limits his ability to go after the quarterback. He has just four career sacks in 32 games.

"I think I need to stop the run in order to rush the passer," Haynes said. "I don't think Coach (Ron) Rivera will just shove me out there and pull out Wale or Alex."

A year ago, Haynes was working with the first team defense and looked to have a starting gig locked up with the season approaching. That was before the Bears traded WR Marty Booker and a third round draft pick to Miami for Ogunleye.

"Everybody's goal is to be a starter, but it's one of those things not everyone can start," Haynes said. "All you can do is try to make your game a little better, so when it's your time to get in there you make plays because that's the only way you become a starter. Coaches aren't going to put you out there if all you're going to do is kind of be there."

It has taken time for Haynes to put things in perspective. Upon his exit meeting with Rivera at the end of the 2004 season, he inquired about his future with the team. When he found out it would be much the same, he took the off-season to reflect on where his career was headed.

"Sure it's a little frustrating, but I realize that's kind of where I'm at right now, so I better just adjust to it and that's something I'm really focusing on."


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