The Pittsburgh Steelers will be glad to get cornerback Joe Haden healthy and on the field.
Haden was a game-time decision last Sunday against the New England Patriots after returning to practice that week, but he did not play. He hasn’t played since fracturing his left fibula Week 10 against the Indianapolis Colts.
However, if Haden has his way, he will be on the field on Christmas Day (3:30 p.m. ET/NBC) against the Houston Texans.
“I already know,”Haden said via Penn Live’s Jacob Klinger. “Monday, Tuesday, we were already up here doing all that stuff, doing a whole lot more running, just a little bit of everything, so I already felt coming into [Wednesday] that I’m ready to go.”
The Steelers’ pass defense has had issues all season, but they have been especially vulnerable to big plays since Haden’s injury. They allowed Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Brett Hundley to have the best game of his NFL career, going 17-for-26 passing for 245 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Two games later against the Baltimore Ravens, the Steelers gave up several huge passing plays and allowed 38 points in a home victory. Both games came down to the final seconds.
Haden may not be a Pro Bowl-caliber player anymore, but he has proven to be solid contributor to the Steelers’ secondary this season. If he can knock off some rust before the playoffs begin, their defense will be much stronger come January.