If you were at all shocked to hear Ben Roethlisberger’s comments regarding the potential for “lots of no-huddle” offense in 2012 my question would be… Why? In an interview with the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen which will air Thursday, Roethlisberger was quoted as saying, “In these meetings I’ve had with Coach Haley, he’s all about the no-huddle and using our wide-receiver weapons and throwing the ball and stuff like that.”
This doesn’t surprise me at all when you consider the background of new Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley who has taken the players given him in the past and adapted his offense to them. In Arizona, he took Kurt Warner who was thought to be on his last legs, and opened up the Cardinals’ offense to the point of reaching Super Bowl XLIII. As head coach in Kansas City, Haley took a team built to run the ball and did just that as they became the number one rushing team in football.
Here we are in 2012 and former coordinator Bruce Arians is in Indianapolis and Haley finds himself with the potential for a dynamic and explosive offense in Pittsburgh. With Roethlisberger calling the offense in the no-huddle and the potential for Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Heath Miller and maybe Chris Rainey the team has the potential to be extremely scary to opposing defenses.
Knowing that under Arians the Steelers’ offense was often in the no-huddle a decent percentage of the time, Haley will take this and use it to his advantage. I believe you will see a more streamlined system with more use of the tight end, slots and running backs but most importantly, Haley find more creative ways to get Wallace and Brown the ball. And yes I’m getting at those gazillion WR screens of BA…
If Chris Rainey can indeed pick up the playbook and understand blitz pick-ups from the backfield, his presence on the field could become huge in a Todd Haley offense in various situations. Defenses would be forced to cover the speedy Rainey with a linebacker or safety making things very difficult for opposing coordinators.
Even if Rainey isn’t on the field, Haley will still have weapons to choose from and I haven’t even mentioned veteran wideout Jerricho Cotchery yet. Cotchery could be a huge factor in the red zone as could 6’8” tight end/H-back Leonard Pope. The red zone of course is a big reason Todd Haley is here and Bruce Arians isn’t. Kicking field goals does not work for this team. See the playoff loss to Denver as exhibit one.
Steelers’ fans should be patient as the pre-season unfolds in August. The OTA’s are nice for getting some basic packages and plays worked on but most things will be put in during training camp. Haley will need time to see what works and what doesn’t. What does Ben like and what he doesn’t? One thing I can definitely tell you is that if I would not worry about a return to three yards and a cloud of dust. Haley has shown he can adjust to his talent and trying to pound the ball with all this talent would be like getting the keys to you father’s Ferrari and not going over 20 miles per hour.
Have patience but have faith Steelers’ fans, this offense should put up some fantastic numbers in 2012.