The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t shadowed their corners this year. They’ve kept it simple. Joe Haden on the left. Artie Burns on the right. And they haven’t budged from that mindset. It’s even a slightly different approach than last year, when Burns and Ross Cockrell did some moving around and in Haden’s mind, a testament to the confidence the coaching staff has in their corners. Sitting down with Missi Matthews, Haden explained why they don’t shadow.
“The biggest thing with me is that I don’t follow the best receiver anymore,” Haden said via Steelers.com. “It’s more left and right. We have really big confidence in Artie that he can cover everybody that’s out there the same way they have it with me. So just being able to know that whoever comes to my side, that side is contained, nobody gets over the top, trying to prevent touchdowns.”
The duo shut A.J. Green down Sunday, holding him to three catches, all coming in the first half. In the game, Haden was targeted three times, not allowing a completion and recording his first interception. Burns was targeted just twice, allowing one catch for a meager ten yards.
Haden tipped his hat to Keith Butler’s gameplan, saying the Steelers used “roll” coverage to double Green, an idea we talked about already, and to the Steelers’ pass rush for forcing Andy Dalton to quickly get rid of the football.
His interception came off Green, who tipped a slant that was thrown too far in front that Haden managed to come down with. As you may have seen during the broadcast, Haden ran to the Steelers’ bench to give the ball to someone in the stands. That someone was his mother, who Haden says is his biggest fan.
“It was really my mom. My mom is the best. She doesn’t let me get her tickets. She goes on StubHub to make sure she gets tickets right behind the bench every game. So she comes to every game, gets tickets behind the bench. So I know when I get a pick, I look behind the bench and I get immediate contact from mom.”
The Steelers have one of the league’s best pass defenses. They’re tied first in yards per attempt with 5.6 after allowing 7.0 last year, which ranked middle of the pack. Opposing QBs are completing less than 60% of their passes, top ten in the league, and their QB rating against is fourth best.