Contextualizing The Steelers 2017 Sack Production: CB Joe Haden

While all sacks are created equal in a game book or on a stat sheet, not all of them really are when you look at why and how each one happened. Throughout the offseason I plan on looking at each of 56 sacks the Pittsburgh Steelers defense registered during the 2017 regular season and attempt to contextualize each of them. This process should help identify which defensive players are earning their sacks more than others.

We’ll continue on with this series of posts by looking at and contextualizing the one sack that Steelers cornerback Joe Haden registered during the 2017 season.


Sack #1 – Week 1 vs. Browns – 2Q – 1-10-CLV 27 – (:29) (Shotgun) D.Kizer sacked at CLV 24 for -3 yards (J.Haden) – TIME 4.29 seconds

Haden’s one and only sack for the Steelers in 2017 came during the team’s first game of the season against the Cleveland Browns. It also happened on the last play of the first half, a 1st and 10 dropback by Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer. On this particular play, Haden is initially lined up against the lone Browns wide receiver on the left side of the defense with an outside leverage posture. Just prior to the snap of the football, Haden tips his hand that he’ll be blitzing off the edge and the safety to his side rotates down to take his place in coverage. The wide rush by Steelers inside linebacker Vince Williams, combined with the inside path taken by outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo results in a huge lane for Haden. While the Browns running back attempts to pick the blitzing Haden up, the cornerback uses a nice move to the inside in order to gain access to Kizer, who is waiting on a receiver to come open after failing to notice his tight end settling in an open area of the field to his right. Haden easily takes down Kizer for the sack and the half ends. It was a great defensive call considering the down, distance, spot on the field and time on the clock.


Summary: Haden’s first season in Pittsburgh was a good one, all things considered. A fractured fibula that he suffered early during the second half of the season obviously wound up sidelining for five full games. The sack that Haden registered against his former team in Week 1 was just the third of his NFL career and that’s not overly surprising being as he’s an outside coverage player and thus not a normal candidate to blitz off the edge. In short, don’t look for Haden to be used as a blitzer much moving forward.

Contextualizing The Steelers 2017 Sack Production: OLB Bud Dupree
Contextualizing The Steelers 2017 Sack Production: OLB Anthony Chickillo
Contextualizing The Steelers 2017 Sack Production: OLB James Harrison
Contextualizing The Steelers 2017 Sack Production: DE Tyson Alualu
Contextualizing The Steelers 2017 Sack Production: DE L.T. Walton
Contextualizing The Steelers 2017 Sack Production: DE Stephon Tuitt
Contextualizing The Steelers 2017 Sack Production: NT Javon Hargrave
Contextualizing The Steelers 2017 Sack Production: OLB T.J. Watt
Contextualizing The Steelers 2017 Sack Production: ILB L.J. Fort
Contextualizing The Steelers 2017 Sack Production: CB Mike Hilton
Contextualizing The Steelers 2017 Sack Production: ILB Sean Spence