Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden has to be very excited right now as the former first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns will finally get to play in a playoff game for the first time during his career in a little less than two weeks from today. The Steelers, on the other hand, also have to be pretty excited about what Haden has provided for them on the field this season, his first in Pittsburgh.
During his Tuesday press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked to talk about Haden. He was asked to comment specifically on how big of an acquisition Haden’s been for the team this season and what his signing has allowed the team to do defensively that they weren’t able to do prior to his arrival.
“Joe’s [Haden] really good, man, Tomlin started. “We can spend a lot of time talking about how significant his addition is, but I think the thing that probably stands out to me and probably stands out to his teammates, is the teammate that he is. We knew he was a quality player. We knew that before we acquired him. That’s played out in games, on playing fields and so forth. But he’s a quality guy. He’s a good teammate. He’s good to the younger guys in his position. He’s a positive energy-bringer.”
While Haden didn’t necessarily play overly great in the Steelers regular season finale against the Browns this past Sunday at Heinz Field, his entire body of work this season has certainly been a welcomed sight. Additionally, while Haden was sidelined for well over a month during the second half of the regular season with a fractured fibula, the Steelers pass defense struggled quite a bit and especially when it came to that unit giving up explosive pass plays of 20 yards or longer.
With the Steelers now on a playoff bye week as the No. 2 seed in the AFC, Haden is afforded a little extra time to get himself completely healthy for the team’s Divisional Round game and hopefully that bodes well for him and the defense in what we all hope will be a multi-week run that will ultimately culminate in a February Super Bowl win in Minnesota.
“He’s a lot of things that you didn’t know as well that are really positive, so we’ll spend a lot of time in the future talking about how significant that pickup was I’m sure,” Tomlin said Tuesday.
Haden who signed a three year, $27 million free agent contract with the Steelers just prior to the start of the 2017 regular season, registered 20 total tackles, one sack, one interception and 7 total passes defensed in the 11 regular season games that he played in this season.