Joe Haden Says Steelers’ Coaches Have High Degree Of Confidence In Secondary

The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t shadowed their corners this year. They’ve kept it simple. Joe Haden on the left. Artie Burns on the right. And they haven’t budged from that mindset. It’s even a slightly different approach than last year, when Burns and Ross Cockrell did some moving around and in Haden’s mind, a testament to the confidence the coaching staff has in their corners. Sitting down with Missi Matthews, Haden explained why they don’t shadow.

“The biggest thing with me is that I don’t follow the best receiver anymore,” Haden said via “It’s more left and right. We have really big confidence in Artie that he can cover everybody that’s out there the same way they have it with me. So just being able to know that whoever comes to my side, that side is contained, nobody gets over the top, trying to prevent touchdowns.”

The duo shut A.J. Green down Sunday, holding him to three catches, all coming in the first half. In the game, Haden was targeted three times, not allowing a completion and recording his first interception. Burns was targeted just twice, allowing one catch for a meager ten yards.

Haden tipped his hat to Keith Butler’s gameplan, saying the Steelers used “roll” coverage to double Green, an idea we talked about already, and to the Steelers’ pass rush for forcing Andy Dalton to quickly get rid of the football.

His interception came off Green, who tipped a slant that was thrown too far in front that Haden managed to come down with. As you may have seen during the broadcast, Haden ran to the Steelers’ bench to give the ball to someone in the stands. That someone was his mother, who Haden says is his biggest fan.

“It was really my mom. My mom is the best. She doesn’t let me get her tickets. She goes on StubHub to make sure she gets tickets right behind the bench every game. So she comes to every game, gets tickets behind the bench. So I know when I get a pick, I look behind the bench and I get immediate contact from mom.”

The Steelers have one of the league’s best pass defenses. They’re tied first in yards per attempt with 5.6 after allowing 7.0 last year, which ranked middle of the pack. Opposing QBs are completing less than 60% of their passes, top ten in the league, and their QB rating against is fourth best.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • The confidence is justified as the unit has player very well thus far this year. Sure, some things could be better (Artie and his run support), but they are the numeral uno pass defense and for good reason!

  • StrengthOfVictory

    The fact that I don’t find myself holding my breath every time an opposing QB drops back and lets the ball fly definitely says something—both about where this team is now and where they have been recently.

  • Bryan Ischo

    It’s so incredibly awesome to have a pass defense that is not a liability. I griped about coach Lake quite a bit over the past few years but this year is proof that he is not a weak link in the defensive coaching scheme.

    Also there have been times in the past where I said that I thought that a lot of Mike Tomlin’s success was due to the carryover of players from the Cowher era, but I will never say that again. This is Tomlin’s team 100% and it is up there with the better teams of the Cowher era. If Roethlisberger was close to his prime, this team would probably be as good as any team Cowher ever fielded.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Without a doubt, it must be said that this is Tomlin’s team. I haven’t been this excited for a Steelers defense in a while—Dupree, Watt, Tuitt, Heyward, Hargrave, Haden, Burns, Davis. It’s so much fun to watch them come alive.

  • Brian Miller

    Very true statement, I can identify!!

  • RyanW

    The signing of Haden has been huge for us. Love the stability that he’s brought along with Hilton and the development of Artie and Sean.

  • BlackAndGold97

    While not perfect (Artie, please tackle someone), the signing of Haden has been rock solid so far. 2 competent cover corners that are not liabilities allows for our front 7 to attack the QB more. Thank You Cleveland!

  • Bobby h.

    Hey bro you forgot about Hilton LoL… But good call I agree with you I’m excited to see them all grow together as a unit

  • nutty32

    Yeah, that follow stuff throws off the whole D & everyone has to make tons of mental adjustments to motion. More trouble than its worth unless the other corner is terrible or the follow is always strictly man-to-man with no help adjustments. No teams these days have the roster stability to have every string of DBs completely comfortable with each other & each scheme.

  • Doug Andrews

    I’m just glad I don’t have to see Cockrell playing 10 yards off the receiver on 3rd and short anymore.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    Shaliiiiiiiiiiiiiiieve too can’t forget about him

  • James Kling

    Love me some Joe Haden. Artie is still honing his skills, same with Davis, but huge potential. And Mike Hilton is playing like a man on fire!

  • dany

    That thing about his mom is just beautiful


    I think the signing of Hayden, could rank as one of the best free agent signings of our history. He could possibly rank up there with Farrior, he has the talent.

  • Conserv_58

    Joe Haden is the best thing to happen to the Steelers secondary and Artie’s career. Joe’s talent, his humble personality and his work ethic do not go unnoticed.

  • Conserv_58

    Yeah that.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    A furious rush with a dose of tight coverage….ahhh seems like the good old days. Can’t wait to see Brady go prostrate about 8 times when we play them….Either that or a remake of the YA Tittle picture.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Haden move was HUUUUGE!!

  • Zib Hammad

    Too bad for him he had to spend the first 7 years of his career on a desert island.

  • yosemiteone

    I warned you Larry, how things on Ridgeview.