You know that big guy on the opposing team that is so humongous that everyone is intimidated by because of his presence? Well, maybe not so big in size, but that’s what Joe Haden is for the Cleveland Browns. Haden is intimidating and opposing quarterbacks are starting to become more aware of where is on the field at all times. It is amazing how one player can change the whole complexion of a defense. A case could be made that the Browns could be .500 if they had Haden in the last five games.
Having Haden’s presence alone is uplifting for the Browns. Returning from a four game suspension in Sunday afternoon’s contest against the Cincinnati Bengals, Haden did not have the best luck against one of the NFL‘s elite wide outs, AJ Green. The second year man and former Georgia Bulldogs star accumulated 135 yards on 7 catches and two scores. A good portion of those yards came against a Cleveland soft zone coverage defense late in the game and Cleveland playing with a comfortable lead. Nonetheless, Haden was not completely responsible for all of it. When a play needed to be made, he came through for the desperate to-find-the-win column Browns.
Like he’s often seen, Haden had multiple pass break ups, forcible tackles and his 2nd interception in as many games. Cleveland’s third year man from the Florida Gators brought spark to the defense and finished second on the team in tackles. Without Haden, the Browns may have suffered their sixth loss of the season.
Like the great corners of the late ’80s (Frank Minnifield & Hanford Dixon), the high energy Haden plays the game with heart, toughness, and a fiery passion. Barring any major injury (knock on wood), it’s refreshing to know he will be out there the rest of the season.
It was evident on Sunday that the Browns dearly missed their star defensive back. It would not be unrealistic to think Haden could have a field day against the Indianapolis Colts and their rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. Can you say two wins in a row?
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
Please Follow Me on Twitter @ryanpruiz24