Film Room: Joe Haden Gets Taste Of Steelers-Ravens Rivalry

We received a request earlier this week to do something on one of the newest Pittsburgh Steelers, cornerback Joe Haden, and how he has been performing, considering that the team’s cornerbacks haven’t exactly had the most high-profile spotlight through four games.

I figured I would try to tackle that here, looking as some of Haden’s play from the second half of the Ravens game on Sunday. I admit that I don’t know the secondary and their assignments as well as I know other areas of the game, but I think I know enough to provide an overview of the game.

The first play I’ll look at is the touchdown pass to Mike Wallace. The Ravens did a good job here of stressing the Steelers’ coverage with their route pattern set up on the right side. From the all-22 view, you can see how they branch and stretch the coverage. Joe Flacco was able to get Sean Davis to bite on the seam route, opening the lane to the corner for Wallace between the safety and Haden.

Contrary to what some might still think, the Steelers are still a predominantly zone team. Sometimes those zones leave openings like this one, again to Wallace. Given that his route was the only one in the area, I would say that Davis was again slow to react here.

Early in the fourth quarter, Haden was playing off coverage against Jeremy Maclin, running a simple out route to pick up an easy 11 yards. The Steelers had a single high safety here, so perhaps Haden was instructed to be cautious against the deep ball.

Again, the Ravens were able to stress the cornerback in coverage using combination routes, this time getting Nick Boyle open on another out route for 14 yards.

A couple of plays later, Flacco hit Buck Allen in the flat on second and five, leaving Haden in open field to make the tackle. He was able to just get a piece of his leg as he went by, but for a seven-yard gain.

Much later in the game, already with a three-possession lead, the Steelers did let Breshad Perriman get behind them in coverage, with the safety slow to rotate over the top. A better throw could have resulted in a big play here, rather than just an incompletion.

A couple of plays after that, Allen did get his missed tackle from Haden, but J.J. Wilcox was there to ride him down after three yards, again on second and five.

It should be point out that for all of the above, the Steelers had at least a two-possession lead. I don’t think Haden was actually targeted in this game outside of these zone looks. Overall, he really hasn’t been tested, so I think we still don’t know a whole lot about him right now.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Dude! Forget about a Haden profile – jk, I’m glad you did – what’s the deal with Davis???

  • Petherson Silveira

    WTF Davis did on the TD? There was a FS at MOF. He should had play #2 and his Deep 1/3 of the field. Was a simple Smash concept and he couldn’t recognize it. I wouldn’t like to be is his shoes in the film room coz Butler will eat him alive.

  • colingrant

    I look forward to seeing Dupree maximize his immense capability. In that first clip, (the touchdown to Wallace) Dupree’s wide circular rush enabled Flacco to step into his throw and deliver a “fast ball”, which is the only type of pass that could get through that smallish window. If Dupree takes a more direct angle similar to Watt on the opposite side, Flacco may not have been able to step into his throw the way he did.

    If he’s throwing somewhat flat-footed, or just slightly quicker without the longer velocity enabling stride, the pass is possibly playable for Steelers defenders closing in on Wallace. Those wide angled rushes are not only hit or miss, but allows QB’s to step up into their throws for velocity and accuracy, in addition to greatly expanding the QB’s ability see the half the field. It’s possible his shoulder injury is impacting his play to where he’s limited to speed rushing more than he’d prefer. Time will tell.

  • Petherson Silveira

    Tuitt. Dupree had the Flat and was covering a hitch route from #1.

  • colingrant

    Thanks for correction.

  • Charles Haines

    one thing we know…..he’s an upgrade over Cockrell

  • Jaybird

    Thanks for the write up Matt.

  • Henry Michael

    Hes been an upgrade over Corkrell. I haven’t seen Haden give up a big play at all

  • Rob

    That second gif looks like cover2 man and haden thinks its zone

  • Rocksolid20

    Is Cockrell on a team ?

  • Matthew Marczi

    He’s still with the Giants but is on the bench now.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Could be, but it looks more like split coverage to me. When you have three guys on one side it can force that kind of coverage.

  • Nathaniel Sullivan

    I would agree with everything but 3. Looks like a single deep safety. I would rather him get beat in the flat than get beat deep by pressing the wr.

  • Rob

    I’ll defer to you but JJ had a deep half on the other side, so I’d expect Sean has the same on the other side. Shazier seems to read the RB, as if in man. Would be a strange coverage to have only Haden in zone there, and have Sean be expected to close in to the mof and vacate the other deep half.

  • MC

    Looks like Davis isn’t really helping on a couple of these

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Hope I’m wrong but the reports of him losing his speed look to be accurate.

  • Petherson Silveira

    Yeap. Makes a lot of sense.

  • SilverSteel

    Don’t forget, we just shoved him in there right away. Considering that fact, he’s playing lights out. No camp, no time to learn the PB. And still plays better than Cockrell. That’s impressive

  • SilverSteel

    I’m happy. The secondary isn’t a colander anymore.

  • SilverSteel

    That’s damn shame. We should have kept him for depth somehow. He was still a solid average CB that really helped us when we were down.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It was probably his lack of special teams contributions that doomed him, otherwise I think he might have been kept over Sensabaugh. But already they’re going to have to figure out who to let go when Cameron Sutton comes off of IR.