Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Will Joe Haden start preseason opener?
By James Walker ESPN.com
BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns starting cornerback Eric Wright limped off the practice field Tuesday with a right leg injury. Although the severity of Wright's injury is unknown, it may present a golden opportunity for rookie first-round draft pick Joe Haden.
Joe Haden may be in the starting lineup Saturday against Green Bay.
The No. 7 overall pick has been a backup since his arrival this spring for offseason workouts. Haden struggled some in minicamp. But with a lot of reps this summer, he's starting to look more comfortable in Cleveland's 3-4 defense.
Haden received all of the first-team reps Tuesday after Wright went down. Haden's learning curve will increase even more if he starts Saturday's preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers, who should have one of the NFL's top offenses this year.
"I'm real excited," Haden said of the potential opportunity. "It definitely means a whole lot more playing time, and that's just more time to make plays."
The news wasn't all good for Haden this week.
Cleveland players have made headlines recently with their Twitter accounts. Haden added to the list by recently tweeting that a teammate was fined for a cell phone going off in a team meeting. Browns head coach Eric Mangini was disappointed because he had just warned the team on Monday about using social networking irresponsibly.
"I wasn't trying to tell everybody our business, but I really need to make sure I don't reveal what's going on inside the locker room," Haden said. "I apologized and [Mangini] said we're going to move on."
Added Mangini: "I think our social media policy is a work in progress."
Haden's development on the field also is a work in progress. But expect the team's top pick to play an important role in the defense this year.