Steelers Coach Wants New Haden Contract

Teryl Austin also sees improvement in Artie Burns

Jeff Hathhorn
August 02, 2019 - 9:15 am

93.7 the Fan

LATROBE (93.7 the Fan) – He’s only been with the Steelers for a few months, but Teryl Austin has been around the game long enough to know he wants to coach corner Joe Haden for a while.

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Haden is in the final year of his contract and the 30-year-old said he’s had talks recently with the Steelers.

“Are you kidding me?,” Austin said about Haden.  “I don’t want Joe walking out of here.” 

“I don’t get into contract stuff about players, I just know this-Joe Haden is a very good football player and I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Austin said younger players embrace Haden as he works with Tom Bradley in a newly created position of Senior Defensive Assistant/Secondary coach.

The two are each coaching the secondary, and Austin says it works because he’s known Bradley “for 100 years” and it was Bradley who gave him his first job coaching at Penn State.

“We try to make sure when we get on the field or in the meeting room, we say the same thing,” Austin said.  “We may say it differently, but we are trying to get the same point across.  I think that’s why guys have responded well.”

A former Pitt star, Austin has coached at five division one colleges, has been a defensive coordinator with the Bengals and Lions along with being an assistant with the Cardinals, Seahawks and Ravens.   In 2017 with Detroit, his team finished third in the NFL with 32 takeaways and he’s trying to bring that to Pittsburgh.

“When they are doing things right, they are usually they are in position to get their hands on some balls and challenge,” Austin said.  “That’s the first thing, ok, we are doing some good things.  The next thing is trying to finish every opportunity we get.  The last thing is we want to make sure we clean up and don’t let any ball go over our head.” 

“If we can limit those big plays and be able to still be aggressive at the ball and get our hands on balls and turn it over; we got a chance to really help our defense.”

To that point, Austin has ordered every defensive back to take 15-20 reps per day at the JUGS machine, which is a tool used by receivers to improve their catching abilities.

“We are not just there to knock the ball down or bat it up in the air,” Austin said.  “We want to try and catch it and turn it over.  Those are big in terms of helping our offense and our team.”

There isn’t a bigger project for Austin and the coaching staff than 2016 first round pick, corner Artie Burns.  The Sharon native believes Burns has bought into a few technique changes and has been competitive during camp in Latrobe.

“When there has been a play that’s been made against him, he’s bounced right back and competed really well,” Austin said.  “I like where he is with his mindset.  I like the way he’s working right now.”

Now despite his decades of experience, Austin is doing something this year that he’s never done.  Austin will be the coach in the booth responsible for telling head coach Mike Tomlin when he should review a play.

Austin said he’s paying attention to the officials during camp practices to see how they call the game and he also got a new rule book from special teams coach Danny Smith so he can study.  He knows there is pressure that comes with that role and when asked about the lack of success in Steelers challenges recently.

 “Well, then we can only go up!”