In 2019 Pro Bowl corner Joe Haden recorded 5 interceptions. In an interview during training camp, this offseason both Haden and Minkah Fitzpatrick stated their goals for the 2020 season. Fitzpatrick only stated that he wanted to improve off of his 5 interceptions last year. Haden had a loftier goal. He stated that in 2020 he would be going for 8 interceptions. And it is entirely possible that Joe Haden could reach his goals.
Joe Haden told SNU, “I had five [interceptions] last year. I easily could have had nine. I dropped four picks. Embarrassing. My goal this year is to have at least eight picks.”. The 5 interceptions that Joe Haden had last year is the most had in his three years in Pittsburgh. It is also the second-most in his career. One less than what he recorded in his rookie season back in 2010.
Although Joe Haden’s goals may seem unlikely, they are entirely possible. The four picks that Haden dropped were all very easy catches that happened to fall out of his hands. His chances at an interception in 2020 will also improve as the Steelers’ pass rush improves, and the other coverage players in the secondary receive more experience. A few of Haden’s interceptions in 2019 were aided by Minkah Fitzpatrick. In 2019, Fitzpatrick was new to Pittsburgh’s system, but in 2020 he has all the knowledge he needs. Now he could make an even bigger impact on the field and help Joe Haden get his eight interceptions with ease.
If Joe Haden can actually reach his goal of 8 picks, he will be the first Steeler since 1993 to do so. The last Steeler to reach 8 picks was Rod Woodson. Troy Polamalu came close in 2010 recording 7 interceptions and winning defensive player of the year. If Haden could get 8 in 2020, he may be in the running for the award as well.