Browns defensive player to watch: CB Joe Haden

December 13, 2012

Joe Haden (left) intercepts a pass in a November game against the Steelers (Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

How he beats you:  Haden, a third-year pro  (Friendly), had six interceptions as a rookie in 2010 and has three more this season despite playing in only eight of the Browns’ 13 games.

He served a four-game suspension early in the season for testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance, which he attributed to the use of Adderall. He also missed a game because of an oblique muscle injury. Even so, Haden is tied for the team lead in interceptions. The Browns are 5-3 when he has played.

“Joe’s been playing good his whole career,” Redskins wide receiver Josh Morgan said. “I know Joe. Joe’s a great cornerback and he’s been making a lot of plays. They’ve got a strong defense. It’s going to be a dogfight again down there.”

The Redskins respect the Browns, who rank ninth in the league in scoring defense.

“They have corners and safeties that probably can stand with the best in the league,” Redskins left tackle Trent Williams said. “Their [defensive] line… is just as good as anybody. They’re strong, good at the point of attack, and they get after the quarterback pretty well…. When you watch film, they’re creating turnovers all over the film. You can’t take nothing away from them. They’re a great defense. Their record is not indicative of how they play.”

How to stop him… With the possibility that rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III will be limited or sidelined by a sprained lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, the Redskins’ approach on offense is unclear.

But whether Griffin is playing or fellow rookie Kirk Cousins is making his first NFL start, the Redskins undoubtedly will try to use the running of tailback Alfred Morris to keep the Cleveland defense off balance, then spread the ball around to wide receiver Pierre Garcon and others in the passing game.

“We need to go in there and execute,” Morgan said. “We’re going into this game like we go into every other game. We’ve just got to go in there, execute, keep playing hard and when adversity comes our way, find a way to overcome it like we’ve been doing these last couple of games.”

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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Mark Maske · December 13, 2012

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