Joe Haden expected to shadow Antonio Brown

While a Johnny Manziel-specific package will be the headline-driving speculation heading in to Week 1, one game planning item is all but confirmed as Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden is expected to blanket Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown the entire game, regardless of formation.

Haden did the same when the Steelers and Browns met in Week 12 last season (after missing the team’s first contest with an injury), and Brown to catch 5-of-9 targets for 80 yards and one touchdown—easily one of his worst outings of the season. Brown was shadowed by Joe Haden all game, but beat him deep for a 41-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He had a team-high 10 targets and was one of the few receivers to get in the end-zone against Haden this season. Haden has gone on record, calling Brown one of the toughest receivers he has covered.

On the other side of the field will be first-round cornerback Justin Gilbert. The ninth-overall pick, coming off of a suspect final two weeks of the preseason, will be tasked with sticking on the field-stretching Markus Wheaton. Both corners could have their work cut out for them if the Browns’ front seven does not force Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to make throws quicker than he would like.

(Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY)

  • B-bo

    Yeah…do better than that long TD last time, Joe.

  • mgbode

    return the favor with a pick-6 perhaps

  • pigeonholepundit

    perhaps the “new” (again) browns could show some grit and hit someone hard for a change, unlike the CMcCoy and MoMass hits with no retailiation

  • jimkanicki

    (fyi, on the other side of the field will be buster skrine as per the depth chart. not justin gilbert.)

    tomlin shouldnt expect all haden on brown.
    at 5’10” brown presents no size matchup problems for buster skrine.
    skrine is good.
    just short. (5’9″.)
    skrine can cover brown no prob.

  • TaxiMike

    And Shawn Lauvao can block JJ Watt, no prob……….