The word ‘patience’ is one that I really struggle to get along with whether it’s with my job or my kids or my ability to hit the golf ball straight. I have been telling myself throughout the 2012 NFL off-season that patience will be required and not just by me but of anyone who considers themselves a member of Steelers’ Nation.
Pittsburgh native Todd Haley begins his first season as the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers and will attempt to calm the anxiety of millions at the same time. While former coordinator Bruce Arians was clearly a dead man walking in the eyes of many, he did have his supporters too who approved of the opened-up offense led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Regardless of which side you are on or who you blame for Arians ‘retirement,’ the fact is that the Haley-Era offense is underway and I urge all of you a healthy dose of patience.
Changing an offensive system at any level of football is not easy for many reasons and this is something we all have to understand before the ‘Fire Haley’ signs come out by the end of September.
Offenses in the National Football League have gone from complex to down-right scientifically bizarre. To the novice fan, hearing a quarterback call the play in the huddle or at the line of scrimmage sounds a lot like a person speaking a foreign language but in reality the play call lays out a number of crucial elements.
Typically the first part of the play is the formation the coach wants the offense to be in and that is usually dictated by any number of factors including down and distance, field position or personnel in the game at the time. Next is usually the play call which can include receivers’ routes, a running play and/or possibly blocking scheme.
Whether you’re confused or just reading along and nodding your head in agreement is irrelevant. What you have to understand is that of the 32 NFL franchises, chances are quite good that each of those 32 coordinators will be using different terminology for what amounts to the exact same thing. Now imagine being a player who has heard the same terms used for the last seven or eight years and now you must re-learn everything.
This is essentially learning a second language.
For example, Ben Roethlisberger may have known the term ‘razor’ as a particular motion for a receiver but now under Todd Haley, ‘razor’ could mean something completely different. Welcome to ‘quarterback re-wiring 101.’
No one knows just yet if the offense under Haley will mean more pass or more run. Trust me when I say that every Yinzer has an opinion. This is not the point however, because what we all want to see is an offense that moves the ball and scores TOUCHDOWNS. Not field goals, but TOUCHDOWNS. This is something I think we can all agree on.
In order to get to that phase though, we must be patient. There are going to be growing pains and there are going to be mistakes of both the mental and physical kind. It’s situations like this that make those four preseason games so important.
Yes in a perfect world the Steelers’ offense would click with perfection synchronization by the time the season opener rolls around in September but that would be a pipe dream and you better start getting used to it.
Patience is a virtue and apparently I have little of it so I’m preparing myself now for what could be a sluggish offensive start to the season. I strongly urge all of you to do the same. Yes, it’s entirely possible Haley’s offense will roll on seamlessly to start the season but I’ve seen too many coordinator changes in this league to know otherwise.
Find your inner patience Steelers’ Nation, you’re going to need it.