Haden Island- The NFL’s Newest Shutdown Corner.
Alex Dunlap, Rosterwatch.com
Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden has been given a new job by Head Coach Pat Shurmur that Ohio media outlets have begun calling “Jerry Rice Detail”.
The job description: Cover the opponent’s best wide reciever…..For the whole day.
This differs from the responsibility in which Haden had previously shined during his rookie season and the first 2 weeks of 2011. He had previously lined up on the left side of the field, much like Nnamdi Asomugha had done in Oakland in order to force a predominantly right-handed slate of NFL QB competition to play away from their tendency.
In his first day at his new job last Sunday, he showed up to work to find himself lined up against one of the league’s most physical and beastly WRs, run-after-catch specialist and perennial red zone target Brandon Marshall as the Browns took on the Dolphins at home. At 5’11” Haden is a full 5″ shorter than Marshall, a matchup on paper that would seemingly favor Marshall’s physicality and length. Having averaged well over 100 yards receiving per game through the first two weeks of the 2011 Regular Season, Haden held Marshall to 4 receptions for 43 yards Sunday in a big home win over Miami. Haden has a fluidity and burst that enable him to maintain a physical presence in mirroring receivers downfield without having to establish the outright physical dominance required of a traditional press corner. He is a ballhawk who is at his fastest when exercising recovery and closing speed.
In week 4, the Browns face the Titans. Fantasy football owners sifting through the post-Kenny Britt slate of Tennessee WRs should take note of this development. All indications point to Haden lining up over Nate Washington in a matchup that is like a “Hawaiian Shirt Friday” compared to the challenging day he had at work last week.
Keep an eye on your stud receivers facing the Browns until further notice. The NFL has a new “shutdown corner” and his name is Joe Haden.