Most Browns fans knew that the defense would be a “work in progress” coming into this season.
With multiple veterans off of this year’s roster, the defensive make-up of the team is different. However, one thing that was certain was that Joe Haden would return to his old form and take the weekly challenge against opposing team’s top receivers.
After one week, that’s not the case.
Opening day receivers have embarrassed Haden the last two seasons. Against the New York Jets last year, Brandon Marshall caught six passes for a touchdown on him. Haden could not cover him at all.
Sunday was even worse. Matthews caught seven passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. The most puzzling thing about it was that the Eagles continually kept running the same crossing route with him and Ertz. Haden seemed to know that it was coming, but there was nothing he or Tramon Williams could do about it.
Not only did he get burnt, but he also missed easy tackles, and got confused at times on where to be on the field. That doesn’t sound like a top NFL corner to me.
Fans tend to overrate player’s on their team after a year of good production. A few years back, I wrote an article about the outrage over the Browns not re-signing D’Qwell Jackson. He was an average linebacker, and still is, but he isn’t great.
They’re doing the same thing with Haden. He had a couple of good seasons, and got paid as a top cornerback, but he’s been below average in that regard for the past few years. He’s not Aeneas Williams, or Deion Sanders.
Perhaps injuries have caught up to him. Maybe we just overvalued him and he isn’t that good. But as a veteran, he must set the tone in the secondary if the team is to have any hope of shutting down big plays. All the talk of “getting better” and “working hard” is great, but it can only be said so many times before it’s just crap.
It’s time for Haden to quit talking, and to play a better overall game. He got paid as a top defensive back, now time to play like it.
Next: Cameron Erving