The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How many interceptions will Joe Haden have in 2020?
Believe it or not, but Joe Haden is now entering his second decade in the National Football League. Originally a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2010, he spent his first seven seasons there before being released. The Steelers signed him on that same day in August of 2017.
He has played for Pittsburgh for the past three years, with the 2019 season marking his best yet for the team, highlighted by his five interceptions, which is the most that he has had in a single season since his rookie year all the way back in 2010, when he recorded six.
Now with 27 interceptions in his career, eight have come during his three seasons in Pittsburgh. He recorded at least three interceptions in three straight seasons between 2012 and 2014, but he failed to record any in the two seasons bookmarking that period. In the latter season of 2015, he only played five games. He picked off three passes, however, in his final season in Cleveland in 2016.
Takeaways can be a fluky thing, but there are a couple of things that remain true from last season. One is the fact that Haden is now very comfortable in the system the Steelers have him in, and in this secondary. Another, the pass rush is perhaps the best that he has ever played with in his career, and that usually means more opportunities to intercept passes. In his two previous seasons, he dropped too many of his chances, but he capitalized on them last year after doing more extensive work on his hands.