Joe Haden: ‘Feels So Good’ To Blank An Offense In Red Zone

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden is experiencing a lot of firsts for himself this season—or at least rare occurrences—after coming over to the black and gold from the Cleveland Browns, where he spent his first seven seasons before being cut in August in a cap-saving move.

Having played for the Browns, and not to put too fine a point on it, but Haden has not had the opportunity to experience a lot of winning. In fact, with the Steelers now four games over .500 with a 6-2 record, this is the first time that he has ever experienced such success. I think the best record he has seen was a few years ago when they are 7-5 before losing their final four games.

Not only is he getting a taste of what it’s like to win games consistently, he is also getting a taste of some situational success that he hasn’t been all too familiar with, either. So when the defense kept the Lions out of the end zone on five trips inside the 20-yard line, it was quite a sweet taste for him.

Oh my goodness, it feels so good when you do that”, he said. It’s not too often, after all, that you can allow a team to get into the red zone five times in a game without actually letting them crack the goal line even once.

He said that head coach Mike Tomlin had a special address for the defense during the lead-up to the game, setting high expectations for the unit. “He loves to challenge us and we take on his challenges because we know he believes in us’, he said.

“He wouldn’t challenge us with stuff we couldn’t do. We feel like we have a good defense that hasn’t been as stout as it should be in the red zone, That was one thing we emphasized and worked our tail off in practice to make sure we were locked in”.

Other players have also talked about the fact that Tomlin addressed the defense leading up to the game and challenging them to stand up in the red zone, where they had previously struggled significantly this year, despite doing very well overall in getting off the field on third down.

I’m sure that Haden is not unfamiliar to being challenged. But right now, the way the season is headed, he is on his way to uncharted territory. The former Pro Bowler had never experienced a postseason game with the Browns.

The Steelers are shaping up for their fourth consecutive playoff berth, in good position for at least one home game, and perhaps even a bye week this year, as they enter the break tied for the best record in the AFC, with one victory in hand against the Chiefs, and a game yet to play against the Patriots.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • EdJHJr

    Speaking of the Pats, they now need a back up QB. Also , the 49ers who got the pats backkup QB are now set to draft Barkley.

  • NCSteel

    Congratulations Joe,
    I hope you get to experience a lot more than just a playoff game or two…

  • steelburg

    The 49ers cut Hoyer so that will be a pretty easy decision for the pats to bring him on board. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was an unspoken agreement in the trade.

  • Wayne Padgett

    The 49ers may have acquired Garoppolo but I think they need more help than a QB. It’s to be seen if he can play in their system. If Garoppolo plays well there is no chance that they will draft another QB when they could build the offense or defense to help put together a winner. Barkley could be taken by the Browns #1 if the 49ers manages to win a few games now. It would make no since to draft Barkley if Garoppolo proves himself with the 49ers.

  • Steeler83

    Are you aware that Saquon Barkley is a running back ? 🙂

  • The Tony

    The Browns absolutely have to draft a QB with the first pick (if they’re picking 1). Hue Jackson is not going to last another season unless he drafts his next QB. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets fired after the season. There is a strong possibility of the Browns only winning 4 games in two seasons. That won’t get it done

  • The Tony

    Especially since they just traded a second round pick which is either going to be 33 or 24

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    I wonder if tomlin challenges the offense too

  • Michael Joseph Jackson

    Sunday was also his first ever game played in primetime.

  • Applebite

    Coach should toss pots and pans at the offense…”If you can dodge these, then you can get into the Endzone!”…

  • No it wasn’t

  • Clearly not, lol.