David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Browns top cornerback Joe Haden.
To say that Joe Haden is Cleveland's best cornerback would be the understatement of the season.
The third-year pro is so essential to this Browns secondary that the group implodes without him on the field. This squad has not won a game when he is out of the lineup.
That has occurred five times in 2012. Four games were missed due to an NFL substance abuse suspension and the other came two weeks ago from an oblique strain in the loss to Dallas.
Haden's speed, technique and positioning makes him someone that offensive coordinators try to keep their star receiver away from.
The 5'11", 190-pound corners' numbers are obviously skewed this year, although he is tied for the team lead with three interceptions, because of his time away.
However, another factor is because quarterbacks stay clear of him. Instead these signal-callers try to pick apart the defense on underneath routes or challenge aging outside CB Sheldon Brown.
When Haden is not dressed it seems like open season on going deep, especially against the undersized Buster Skrine. Penalties and poor reads have lead to disaster, which makes No. 23 that much more valuable.
The reliance on Haden emphasizes Cleveland's crucial need for another shutdown corner come 2013.