Joe Haden doesn’t know whether or not he himself is going to be able to be out on the field against the Seattle Seahawks. But whether he is or is not, he is happy to know that Sean Davis, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting free safety, will be, after he missed the season opener against the New England Patriots due to an ankle sprain suffered in the third game of the preseason.
While Haden only returned to on-field practice participation on Friday, where he was a full go, he has felt Davis’ presence there throughout the week. “He’s been very, very vocal”, he told reporters in the locker room Friday, via a video on the team’s website. “I’m glad he’s back out there. He knows the defense very well. He’s always comfortable. So just hearing his voice back there kind of helps because he knows what he’s talking about”.
The Steelers started first-year safety Kameron Kelly in his place. An undrafted free agent in 2018, he failed to make the Dallas Cowboys’ roster out of training camp and ultimately would go on to play for the San Diego Fleet in the Alliance of American Football. Pittsburgh signed him after that startup league folded at the end of April.
The lack of communication between Kelly and second-year Terrell Edmunds was one of the biggest issues the team had on defense, helping to contribute to the big splash plays that were the largest difference in the game.
“We can’t have guys running scott free”, he said, referring to three long touchdowns the Patriots were able to score when the defense busted coverages. “When we have a body on a body, a man on a man, we’re very tough to beat, but we can’t beat ourselves”.
“That’s still a part of us not communicating”, he went on. “As long as we’ve got the same communication going across the board, I think we’ll be good. But that’s the main thing”.
For his part, he believes that Davis’ return will be an asset in that communication chain that was lacking Sunday, as he said above. He has been one of the primary defensive communicators for the group for the past couple of years, and is the longest-tenured member of the secondary if you go by time spent on the 53-man roster, tied of course with draft classmate Artie Burns.
While Davis has become something of a whipping boy for fans, some of whom *cough*Shane Mitchell*cough* believe that he’s not even actually capable of playing football, the defenders on the team are ready to see him back on the field contributing as an asset to a unit that feels it was missing him against the Patriots. He’ll be out there Sunday, so we will see if he is able to make a difference—perhaps even a splash.