The offseason is in full swing for the Steelers, especially on offense where new coordinator Todd Haley has been busy implementing his new gameplan. Learning the new scheme has been an ongoing process and will continue in that manner as OTA’s come and go, and training camp gets closer on the horizon.
For now the practices are spent trying to figure out who’s going to be where for Ben Roethlisberger. On top of learning all the plays, he needs to know where every potential target is for any given situation. He’s been outspoken about that process since Haley was hired earlier this offseason; probably the most notable being “you need a rosetta stone to figure out this playbook” type of comments. While Ben’s words never cease to get the Steeler Nation in an uproar, he did have something positive to say about the offense recently…depending on how you take it.
Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Trib and 93.7 The FAN recently talked to Roethlisberger after a practice session. On the topic of learning the new offense and how it’s coming together:
I began by acknowledging the obvious: Roethlisberger understandably was not pleased with the coordinator change. So is it now just a matter of getting on board?
“Yeah, absolutely,” Ben said. “You have no choice.”
Then came a dart.
“And like I said, every day’s getting a little bit better, and we’re learning — and we’ll be running the ball a lot this year, so fans should be happy.”
Me: “Will you guys be running a lot?”
Him: “I think so.”
Me: “Is that the plan?”
Him: “That’s the way it seems … I know the fans want it, so it looks like they’ll be getting their wish.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m all for running the ball. That is to say running more effectively not necessarily more often. If the two go hand in hand then so be it but I don’t want pounding the ball just for the sake of doing it. So what do we really make of these comments from Ben? Does he really think fans just want to run more, and if so is he really taking that personally? Or are we once again blowing things way out of proportion?
It’s probably best to leave this type of thing alone because reading into it will just start another “Ben needs to be quiet” campaign by the fans who think he talks too much. If Ben thinks the fans want to run it more, that’s his prerogative. Ultimately none of us has any say in the gameplan so why not just see how things develop before going off on Ben for taking back handed jabs at fans or coaches or anyone else.
Personally I’m just tired of running in predictable circumstances and getting nowhere, calling the wrong type of run play in the wrong type of situation. We remember all too well those delayed draws deep in Steelers territory that blew up for a loss. Those are the types of things that I hope we never see again in this new offense. I’m all for running the ball none of us should want the “3 yds and a cloud of dust” mentality back. There’s too much talent on the roster to ever go back to the “good ole days”. You can find a happy medium though, and that’s what I’m counting on Todd Haley to bring to the table.
You knew this last question was going to be asked, and I’m sure you knew what the answer would be:
Will he alter his style in an effort to stay healthy?
“No,” Ben said. “I’m just going to play the way I know how.”