- Pure elation
- Serious questions about what Haden can bring to the team
Everyone can speculate regarding Haden’s injury-plagued past two seasons, but the fact remains he is a high-talent player who has put Pro Bowl seasons together while being on some of the worst NFL teams over the past 5 seasons.
If there is anyone who would know whether Haden has anything left to offer, it would be his former teammates still on the Browns’ roster. Take a look at what cornerback Jamar Taylor told the Pittsburgh media, via the Steelers official website:
"The guy has crazy feet. He's like a rabbit out there. He's so quick, smart. He's seen a lot of things. He's healthy now so it's way different watching him last year fight through groin injuries. Joe-Joe definitely can still play this game."
A glowing endorsement from Taylor, but rookie starting quarterback DeShone Kizer also talked about Haden, and what he will be thinking when he sees him on the field, but now wearing black and gold.
“You do your best to adjust some of the verbiage and some of the techniques that he caught on since he has been going against me and all of our receivers for so long. You also have to take what is given. You know he is going to win. He is a really good corner, one of the best doing it right now. You understand when the shots are there, go at him. When the shots aren’t there, and he is playing good defense, I am going to check down and move forward.”
With all that said, the true test won’t come until Haden strings together successful performances, starting with Sunday’s tilt against the Browns. While many might question whether he can return to his Pro Bowl form, almost everyone who has been around Haden this season has done nothing but talk about his professionalism, class and also his play making ability.
One thing is for sure, if Haden could find a way to return to his pre-injury self, it would help make the Steelers defense even more complete.