Haden, an emotional leader for the Browns, brings more than just strong shutdown play to the field for the Browns. He brings several intangibles that, when missing, can create noticable holes in a team's defense.
While Haden will not solve all the problems that exist within the Browns defense by himself, his presence makes the Browns defense legitimately dangerous.
He brings an ability to change the tide of a game with one play as well as the skill to force teams to rethink who they lineup where come Sunday afternoon.
Getting Joe Haden back from suspension bolsters a defense that has struggled greatly at times early in the season. The Browns defense will not be shutting anyone out anytime soon, but Haden makes them a defense that teams need to be careful not to overlook.
When Joe Haden returned to the Cleveland Browns lineup on October 14 against the Cincinnati Bengals,there was something different about the Browns defense.
There was an energy and buzz around the locker room that had not been there before. That energy and buzz can be directly linked to the presence of Joe Haden in the Browns lineup.
Haden's presence quickly made a difference for the Browns. In Haden's first game back in the lineup, the Browns picked up their first win in nearly 11 months.
Cleveland defensive captain D'Qwell Jackson summed up the energy that Haden brings into the lineup and the locker room when talking to The Morning Journal in Cleveland.
"He sparked everybody today. It started Wednesday when he was able to come back and practice."
That statement by the Browns captain sums up how important the energy Haden brings is. Joe Haden is like a spark to get a fire started. He gets his teammates energized and ready to play each week.
When he is in the lineup Joe Haden brings an infectious energy to the game. Haden plays with an emotion that his teammates cannot help but to feed off of.
"The intensity he brings and the all-out effort he approaches every day with, it rubs off on you" said D'Qwell Jackson when addressing the media about Haden's return.
Haden is an emotional leader for the Browns. He is becoming a Ray Lewis type of emotional leader for the Browns defense. He has shown several times that he wears his heart on his sleeve on the field and that only adds to the intangibles that he brings to the field.
Describing his own play to the media, Haden said, according to the Beacon Journal, "If you make a play, show other people that you’re excited, so everybody else gets up."
His emotion gets other players going. This emotion is something that players from both sides of the ball can feed off of; not just defensive players.
In the three games that Joe Haden has played this season, the Cleveland Browns secondary has totaled seven interceptions. Now compare that to the three interceptions the Browns managed in the four games that Haden missed due to suspension.
Having a shutdown corner in the defensive backfield that can match up with other team's top receivers allows everyone else to breathe a little easier. Haden is, as D'Qwell Jackson told the media, a "safety net" for the Browns.
The fact that the Browns have their "safety net" in the backfield does not mean they will not give up any big plays. Haden, like every other star player, is liable to make mistakes and give up big plays. In his first two games back in a uniform, Haden has looked rough at times, but that is to be expected. He will regain his All-Pro form soon enough.
Haden's presence and affect on his teammates translates to and is evident in the final scoreline. Even though the Browns hold a record of 1-2 with Haden in the lineup, they have limited teams to the fewest amount of points when Haden is playing.
Joe Haden is a type of player whose energy, and emotion are infectious and make players strive for success. Haden has a way of pushing those players around him to being better all-around players.
While the Browns defense has not been very good against the run this season, giving up the 24th most rushing yards per game, the presence of Joe Haden will force teams to run the ball more. The Browns will be able to spend more time focusing on the rush defense with Haden back in the lineup.
Haden provides the Browns with a shutdown corner who can stop the bleeding in the defensive secondary. Giving up nearly 277 yards per game through the air, the Browns secondary has been torched so far this season on a consistent basis.
Even though Haden's presence may not deter teams from trying to continue the trend of torching the Browns through the air right away, but over the next few weeks teams will begin to focus on running against the Browns, not passing.
The Browns rush defense has shown signs of life and improvement since Haden's return. Things will only begin to get better for the Browns on the defensive side of the ball with No. 23 standing in the defensive backfield.
Haden, a true shutdown corner, provides the Browns with a player who can cause or make a big play happen at anytime. The risk that teams have to take if they want to get the ball to their top playmakers is a big one as Haden has the ability to be a game-changer.
Through three games this season Haden has two interceptions, both of which have led to points for the Browns. Haden has a knack for making plays right when the Browns need them. Not many teams have a player on the defensive side that poses a threat like Haden does.
While teams will, more often than not, try and avoid going directly at Haden, he makes teams pay for their mistakes when they try to attack him. His prowess and confidence in Cleveland's defensive backfield make him a very important player for the Browns to have.
Even though he does not produce the game-changing ability of Josh Cribbs or Trent Richardson, Haden has the ability to alter the outcome of games. Haden's ability to make plays makes him a very dangerous player to have lurking in the secondary.