What is the actual expectation of Haley and the offense? What if the Steelers lose the first few games? What if the losses are high scoring games in the 30’s, but the defense gives it away? What happens if they get blown out early as contrasted by low scoring games? The new offense may have a ton of potential but there is also going to be growing pains, to think that there won’t be is probably naive at best. You can run through plays in shorts, or watch film till your hearts content but there is no substitute for the real thing against guys wanting to win as badly as you do.
There has been so much anticipation among the fans already and we haven’t even seen a down played yet when it counts. That’s what we do though, try and figure out what’s going to happen before it does. Who’s going to step up, who’s going to lose his position by mid season, how many touchdowns will Ben Roethlisberger throw, will Emmanuel Sanders finish the entire season and have his desired 1000 yds? All these questions and more will be answered in due time, but the one thing that needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, is patience.
It’s not exactly something that most sports fans have, this coveted virtue of patience. We’re used to seeing a winning team and that’s what we expect. For all the detractors that Bruce Arians had, you pretty much knew what to expect, good or bad. With Todd Haley, you really don’t know what to expect. You can look at his history with the Cardinals and Chiefs and see that he’s a very diverse coach, capable of adapting his offense to the talent available. The Steelers have talent at every position so how he will utilize them remains to be seen. In Arizona, Haley had a prolific passing game with Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzergald, Steve Breaston, and others but not exactly a stellar ground attack. In Kansas City he had the horses to run the ball but an injured Matt Cassle, Dewayne Bowe, Tony Moeacki, and others handicapped what he could do there as well.
With the talent available at the skill positions, you can make a case that a monkey could at least lead this offense to a .500 season, and Haley seems exponentially smarter, obviously. The Steelers do have a more demanding schedule this year, which always plays into how things turn out. The AFC North is full of top 10 defenses so Todd Haley’s group will have their work cut out for them in both conferences. Knowing that and just knowing that a new offense takes time to learn, we can’t be jumping off bridges as soon as something bad happens. We can’t start any of the, “this is bruce arians all over again” talk either. The worst thing you can do is jump to conclusions, especially early on. Just because a play doesn’t turn out to be a positive doesn’t mean it’s the wrong call. Player execution has a big part in the success or failure of course, and they have adjustments to go through as well. In pressure situations will they revert back to what they did before, out of habit? Will they try and overthink the situation which can cause delays in timing and/or concentration? Don’t be surprised if that happens but again, patience and belief in the system’s potential is key.
We’re not trying to be doom and gloom here, but rather just make sure that everyone is prepared for not only the potential of early struggles but also the very real possibility that things will be moving in the right direction right out of the gate. With a full offseason available to them and a dedicated team working diligently to master their tasks, anything is possible. Perhaps it will be somewhere in the middle; a few good series and then some mistakes that kill a scoring drive. A good game or two followed up by a rough outing. It’s hard to say which way it will go but one thing is for sure, the Steelers are always competitive and won’t make excuses. If they win,they win as a team. If they lose, they lose as a team and don’t point fingers. That goes a long way in any situation.
My instinct says the offense will do well, especially if they can stay at 100% health or relatively close to that.. Regardless of how it turns out in the end, I think this will be one of the most interesting seasons we’ve seen in a long time.
Portions of this article came from steeleraddicts members, Speeed, Lakelander, and Ktrain.