Consider Carnell Lake a happy man. Over the last two years, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been hell-on-wheels in adding to their secondary. Drafting Artie Burns and Sean Davis. Trading for J.J. Wilcox. And signing Joe Haden, who might have been the biggest short-term impact of them all. In a rare moment speaking with the media, Lake was pleased with Haden’s performance.
“He’s a stabilizing factor,” Lake told reporters via Steelers.com. “He’s experienced. For awhile, teams weren’t throwing his way, really. Just the fact that he can take away a side is crucial.”
Though Haden’s Week One performance was a bit rocky, a byproduct of coming to the team right before the season began, he’s settled in. A learning curve reduced because of the time he spent in Cleveland.
“He picks things up very quickly,” Lake said. “He has some experience with our defensive scheme because of former coaches he had in Cleveland who had Steelers experience, too.”
Lake is referring to Ray Horton, the former Steelers’ defensive backs coach who had two stints in Cleveland as their defensive coordinator. And of course, Haden being a veteran helps cut down the time needed to learn the ins and outs of the system, too.
For the year, Haden has 16 tackles, five pass breakups, a sack, and an interception. Based on our charting, including Sunday’s win over Detroit, Haden has given up just two completions on 11 targets, both of which came in the first week of the season. Opposing offenses have definitely noticed, preferring to pick on Burns (23 targets) instead.
Haden has made Lake’s life easier. His steady, don’t-need-to-worry-about-him presence has let Lake develop the younger guys who need all the coaching they can get.
“Joe is a good teammate. He’s really been able to allow us to concentrate on other guys. My attention has been to focus on other corners to get them ready. Continue to help develop Artie. I think having Joe on the other side is inspiration to him.”