'We have to be on the same page'

It's been an offseason of addition and subtraction in the secondary, and the Steelers might not be done altering the arrangement.

Cornerback Joe Haden isn't yet sure how it will all sort out, but he's convinced the Steelers have options and he's looking forward to the process.

"We have a lot of competition here," Haden said today. "We have a lot of talent in that (defensive backs) room. We'll be able to see during OTAs, we'll see during training camp. Whoever's playing, whoever's ballin' I know the coaches are going to put the best people on the field."

Free safety Mike Mitchell and 'dime' cornerback William Gay are among those who moved on after last season.

Safeties Morgan Burnett and Nat Berhe have arrived via free agency.

And next week's NFL Draft may provide an additional resource or two with which to work.

"At the free safety spot we just need a guy that's a sure tackler, able to go sideline to sideline, be over the top of the corners, be able to just be the blanket over the defense," Haden said. "If anything breaks it's a 20-yard gain and not a 50-yard gain.

"And with the 'dime,' somebody that's very smart, that can blitz, can cover, that knows the defense very well. And with Cam Sutton and with Mike Hilton and with the body types and people that we have in there we have a lot of guys we know can cover the third receiver and cover the tight end."

It'll be up to the entire defense, Haden maintained, to compensate for the absence of inside linebacker Ryan Shazier in 2018.

"It's going to be a big loss for us," Haden said. "Having a guy like him with that much seed, with that much knowledge of the game, who can get from sideline to sideline; the biggest thing, I keep saying it, is discipline.

"We have to be able to be on the same page and just not have 'busts' (blown coverages) on defense. If we have busts, then that's going to be the reason why we get beat. If we just have a man on man, if everybody knows who they have, then I think we'll be good to go."

And better, hopefully, than the Steelers were on defense in their 45-42 playoff loss to Jacksonville.

"You're always as good as your last game, so it was kinda tough," Haden said. "We know we can do better. We know we have a lot of room to grow. We're looking forward to it."

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