2017 South Side Questions: Will Joe Haden Play Against New England?

The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: Will Joe Haden play in the Steelers’ next game against the New England Patriots?

We should have a pretty good idea of whether or not this is within the realm of possibility later today, as head coach Mike Tomlin is scheduled to carry out his pre-game press conference, during which he will inevitably talk about, or be asked about, his status.

The Steelers signed cornerback Joe Haden because of what he can do against top-level competition, something that they struggled with last year. The Patriots qualify as top-level competition, so it would be great to see the former Pro Bowler be able to return after missing the past four games.

He suffered a high fibular fracture during the team’s ninth game of the season against the Colts, and since then they have struggled with big plays being converted against them. The only game in which they’ve managed to avoid it was against the Bengals, and they got a break, having a long touchdown called back because of a hold on a running back in pass protection.

Haden has not yet returned to practice, but he has previously said that he feels he would only need a few practices before he felt he was ready to play, once he is able to get back on the practice field. So if he practices tomorrow, there is a chance that he and play Sunday.

If not, we figure to be looking at a continued rotation of Coty Sensabaugh, who has been beaten for four or five touchdowns, and rookie Cameron Sutton, who has two games’ worth of NFL experience so far under his belt.

What is ultimately important, of course, is that Haden is healthy for the playoffs, as the Steelers have already guaranteed for themselves at least one game at home. But they could go a long way toward securing a week off and homefield advantage with a win next week, and having him there would help in achieving that goal.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Stevie D

    Haden, will not play this week. If he practice some last week I would say there may be chance he play against the Patriots.

  • WreckIess

    At this point, if he can, he has to. Sensabaugh is probably the worst corner we’ve had in recent years and Sutton isn’t too much better (not his fault, but still. Not that great). With a chance to clinch home field throughout this weekend, we need all available hands on deck.

  • CP72

    If there is even the smallest bit of concern Haden is coming back to soon I think you have sit him. Winning home field would be nice, but it’s not a prerequisite to win a championship.

    Since 2000 only 3 teams have won the Super Bowl as the one seed. In 17 years the one see has won the championship only 17.6% of the time. That tells me being healthy is more important than having home field.

    Do I want to beat the Patriots this week? Heck yes I do. Truth is it’s not as important as some have made it to be.

  • CP72

    To be fair I looked it up the odds of making to the Super Bowl as the one seed.

    The one seed has made it to the Super Bowl just over 50 percent of the time in the last 38 years (this is all off ESPN stats).

  • Surrealist

    Id rather have the Steelers play the postseason in Pittsburgh and not Weaselborough. Who knows how many cameras and mics they have planted around that facility.

  • Paul Rainey

    Have you already forgotten Valentino Blake, who may have been worst DB in NFL history?

  • steelburg

    I don’t think he plays. The teams normal process for players returning is light work on the side, then half participant and then full participant. Haden hasn’t even started the process. I’m guessing that he starts lit work on the side this week.

  • Kevin artis

    “Participation In practice will determine is availablity to us but we’ll keep the light on for him”. Lol.

  • Kevin artis

    I wouldn’t give Sensabaugh the title just yet but he’s gaining. Lol.

  • Kevin artis

    Brice McCain, Cockrell, McFadden, Poteat can be in the conversation.

  • Kevin artis

    Great stat. I always like playing week to week like the 6 seed especially if you are healthy. You know how we are after a bye.

  • Steve Johnson

    Sutton is a rookie, I say give the kid time. Sensabaugh? Another Free Agent Failure by Colbert and Tomlin.

  • Brendan

    Your name is fitting

  • Rocksolid20

    Poteat had a few good moments .

  • WreckIess

    Blake was at least physical and had some symbalance of ball skills. I can’t really think of too many redeeming factors for Sensabaugh.

  • treeher

    He’ll play.

  • Truth Dispensary

    Can’t believe how bad Sensabaugh has been. When signed, I thought he might be an upgrade to Cockrell…but we all now know that’s not the case.

  • Big Joe

    No. Think he comes back with Gilbert

  • FanInExile

    McFadden had a couple of good plays in the waning moments of the 2006 Division playoff game against the Colts. The defensive play in the end zone was a thing of beauty.