The Pittsburgh Steelers will open their 2017 regular season on the road Sunday against the Cleveland Browns and being as the team recently signed their former cornerback Joe Haden, it’s obvious that several coaches and players will be looking to get useful information this week from him regarding the defense he played in while there.
During his Tuesday press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was essentially asked if Haden is being debriefed about his former team’s defense ahead of Sunday’s game taking place.
“Joe’s got enough to do just trying to familiarize himself with being a part of us and what’s going to be required from him from that standpoint,” Tomlin said of Haden. “I’m sure some natural give and take and exchange of thoughts will occur over the course of the week much like I’m sure Sammie Coates will be doing similar things in Cleveland. But I think largely, whether it’s Joe or Sammie, with the short period of time, those guys are going to be spending a majority of their time getting themselves ready to contribute to their teams.”
Ahead of Tomlin’s press conference taking place, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had his weekly interview on 93.7 The Fan and he also was asked about the recent addition of Haden and if he would be trying to get some useful information about the Browns defense out of him ahead of Sunday’s game kicking off.
“Yeah, we’ve talked to him,” Roethlisberger said. “We anticipate them doing that with Sammie Coates. I’ve talked to Joe a little bit. It’s not like I’m going to be able to sit there and look at the sideline and look at their hand signals. You can’t do that. I’ve got to focus on what they line up and how they do things. But for me talking to Joe, it’s more about personality-guys. What kind of player is this guy? Is this guy very aware? Does he get moved with a pump fake? Does this guy like to jump routes? It’s just more personnel things and personalities more than anything.”
While we’ll have to wait and see how Haden ultimately plays against his former team this weekend in Cleveland, Roethlisberger made it clear Tuesday that he’s glad to have the former Browns cornerback on his team now.
“Lot of respect for him,” Roethlisberger said of Haden. “I was excited about that pickup. I know that when he got released I was talking to Coach [Tomlin]. I was saying, ‘hey, listen, can we get this guy?’ Let’s find a way because he, for a long time, was a guy that we looked at as at worst-case, five, maybe a top-three cornerback in the league. A guy that we respect a lot to make a lot of plays. Was smart, just a really good football player. I know he was dinged-up the last couple of years, but even dinged-up, he’s traveled with A.B. [Antonio Brown] and we always knew where he was.”
Roethlisberger went on to say that he believes a change of scenery mind be just what Haden needs moving forward.
“I think and hope that when he comes here and he takes the orange off and puts the black and gold on, I think that’s going to rejuvenate him and get him ready to go,” Roethlisberger said. “I know he’s excited and I’m excited to have him on our side because I think that he’ll bring a big-play guy. And I hope that, and I know it’s a little later in his career than when James Farrior got here, but I’m hoping that he kind of brings a James Farrior-rejuvenation and has a career like James did when he was here.”
As Tomlin and Roethlisberger were both quick to point out on Tuesday, the Browns will undoubtedly be looking to get as much information about the Steelers offense in a short period time out of former wide receiver Sammie Coates as well. Roethlisberger talked about his former wide receiver on Tuesday.
“I enjoyed having Sammie around,” Roethlisberger said of Coates, who the Steelers traded to the Browns on Saturday. “He’s a great guy, great teammate and I wish him nothing but the best wherever, whether it’s Cleveland, or anywhere else. I hope he doesn’t ever play well against us, but I hope he has a great career.”
You can hear Roethlisberger’s full Tuesday interview below: