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TarlsQtr
10-29-2014, 08:53 AM
The Week in Overreactions: Turns out, Todd Haley's not the problem


Maybe Todd Haley wasn't the problem with Pittsburgh's offense

Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley is an easy target. He arrived in Pittsburgh before the 2012 season with a reputation for being something less than a player's coach. In general, there is nothing wrong with that, but Haley was coming into a situation where the franchise quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, and the man Haley was replacing, Bruce Arians, were considered too close.

Conventional wisdom went something like this: The arranged marriage of Roethlisberger and Haley would never work. In fact, it would blow up in the Steelers' faces, likely sooner than later. Two and a half seasons later, the two not only continue to co-exist but Haley, you could argue, has helped prolong Roethlisberger's career by going away from the downfield attack favored by Arians (that routinely led to his quarterback taking big hits) for a short-to-intermediate game plan that gets the ball out of Roethlisberger's hands quickly.

But as the old saying goes, the NFL is a bottom-line business and the bottom line is that the Steelers have been average since Haley's arrival. Back-to-back 8-8 seasons and a 3-3 start in 2014 before Pittsburgh reeled off two straight -- including an offensive explosion against the Colts Sunday -- left most people (again) unimpressed with Haley. Especially after Arians' success in Indianapolis with Andrew Luck during his 2012 rookie season, and the subsequent successes with the Cardinals in 2013 and 2014.

But even before Big Ben completed 40 of 49 passes for 522 yards and six touchdowns against a very good Colts defense, the signs were there that the offense under Haley was working. Consistency and execution have been the problem -- on both sides of the ball, it turns out -- which goes a long way in explaining the two-year run on mediocre football.

Remember: The Steelers started the 2012 season with a 6-3 record and Roethlisberger was putting up MVP numbers over the first half of that season. In those nine games he sported a 100 passer rating, completed 66 percent of his throws, and had 17 touchdowns versus four interceptions. He also took fewer hits than at any time in the Arians' era. Even if Big Ben not-so-secretly hated the new offense, it was hard to argue with the results.

And then Roethlisberger suffered an chest injury in the Week 10 game against the Chiefs, the Steelers had to turn to Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch, and by the time Roethlisberger returned to the lineup -- still less than 100 percent -- the Steelers' offense wasn't the same. They limped to a 2-5 finish because the centerpiece of their offense -- the franchise quarterback -- got hurt.

Last season, Pittsburgh stumbled to an 0-4 start and two of the biggest reasons were a worst-in-the-universe offensive line and a nonexistent running game. After enough duct tape was applied to the O-line, and then-rookie Le'Veon Bell was healthy, Haley's offense came together, scoring 27 or more points five times as the Steelers finished 6-2.

This season, the defense has been Pittsburgh's biggest liability; youth movements come at a cost -- on-the-job training and the mistakes that go with them -- and that's been the case through much of the first two months of the season. And while the offense had struggled in the red zone before the Week 7 win over the Texans, it was a top-10 unit in total yards. And that was with no legitimate No. 2 receiver after Antonio Brown.

Second-year wideout Markus Wheaton was supposed to be that guy, but after six catches for 97 yards in the opener against Cleveland, he disappeared for the next month. Rock bottom came in the rematch with the Browns when Wheaton was targeted 11 times but caught just four passes as he and Roethlisberger appeared to be reading from different playbooks in a 31-10 blowout loss.

And offseason acquisition Lance Moore was supposed to fill the void left by Jerricho Cotchery, the Steelers' No. 3 receiver and touchdown machine, who signed with the Panthers in March. Early in the season, Moore didn't even dress for games. He does now, as does rookie fourth-rounder Martavis Bryant who (hallelujah) gives Roethlisberger the elusive "tall red-zone target and downfield threat" that he hasn't had since Plaxico Burress was in Pittsburgh.

Inactive for six games, Bryant has been featured in the last two, hauling in seven passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns -- including two in the red zone. Bryant is still raw, he still continues to learn the playbook, and he still continues to make mistakes (against the Colts, he dropped a slant pass that would've gone for a long gain, and ran the wrong route in an earlier series). But his physical skills are undeniable. And his emergence not only gives Big Ben someone to lean on, it means defenses can't double-team Antonio Brown all day. And the Steelers' passing offense could become even more dynamic as Wheaton grows into his role.

Then there's Bell, who gives Haley one more dimension to the passing game. We've yet to see a linebacker cover him, which creates one more mismatch.

And that brings us to the offensive line. We said several times this offseason that the Steelers' biggest acquisition was offensive line coach Mike Munchak. On Sunday, the five big guys tasked with protecting Big Ben played a near-flawless game. Roethlisberger wasn't touched all afternoon, and it came against a Colts' defense that registered 20 sacks during its five-game winning streak and, according to Football Outsiders, came into Week 8 with the league's No. 2 pass defense.

Back-to-back wins have the Steelers tied for second place in the division but two months of football remain. A record-setting afternoon against a good Colts team is nice but questions remain about whether this team can be consistent from one week to the next. Many of those questions are on defense, where we've seen incremental improvements. The offense, as has been the case for parts of the previous two seasons under Haley, appears to be hitting its stride.

Whatever happens over the next eight games, this much is certain: Haley will never be loved in Pittsburgh and it has nothing to do with his demeanor, his relationship with the face of the franchise or this play-calling. It's solely a function of his job title. Just ask Arians, who went from the weekly target of fans' ire to revered offensive mastermind the moment he left and had success elsewhere.

But like most things in football, winning fixes everything.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24771180/the-week-in-overreactions-turns-out-todd-haleys-not-the-problem

Big T
10-29-2014, 08:56 AM
Fire Haley!

@ScottBrown_ESPN: RT @FO_ScottKacsmar: Ben Roethlisberger by OC
Whisenhunt: 52 TD, 43 INT
Arians: 113 TD, 57 INT
Haley: 70 TD, 25 INT

TarlsQtr
10-29-2014, 09:06 AM
Fire Haley!

@ScottBrown_ESPN: RT @FO_ScottKacsmar: Ben Roethlisberger by OC
Whisenhunt: 52 TD, 43 INT
Arians: 113 TD, 57 INT
Haley: 70 TD, 25 INT

Yeah, but Snoop Dogg hates him, so he must suck!

LatrobePA
10-29-2014, 09:13 AM
Yeah, but Snoop Dogg hates him, so he must suck!

Snoop is stoned 24/7 what does he know? lol

Steeltrap
10-29-2014, 09:55 AM
hahahaha

steelchamp204
10-29-2014, 09:56 AM
snoop roots for about 6 other teams in the nfl, hes no steelers fan

skyhawk
10-30-2014, 01:26 AM
Obviously Haley IS the problem.

Unshackle Ben and let him play= good things happen. It's just Ben being Ben.

coldrolled
10-30-2014, 08:41 AM
Obviously Haley IS the problem.

Unshackle Ben and let him play= good things happen. It's just Ben being Ben.

Ben calls the plays in no huddle. Haley calls the plays normally... we scored 51 points.. ben had 7 no huddle plays and passes 49 times. ?? Fire Haley? Bell Ran 92 yards.

TarlsQtr
10-30-2014, 09:28 AM
Obviously Haley IS the problem.

Unshackle Ben and let him play= good things happen. It's just Ben being Ben.

Obviously, the problem is with the Steelers fanbase. When our offense plays sh!tty, it is Haley's fault. When they play lights out, Ben gets all the credit.

That is completely unreasonable.

LatrobePA
10-30-2014, 09:30 AM
Obviously, the problem is with the Steelers fanbase. When our offense plays sh!tty, it is Haley's fault. When they play lights out, Ben gets all the credit.

That is completely unreasonable.

LOL, sad but true!

coldrolled
10-30-2014, 09:33 AM
Obviously, the problem is with the Steelers fanbase. When our offense plays sh!tty, it is Haley's fault. When they play lights out, Ben gets all the credit.

That is completely unreasonable.

Ben has played 26+ consecutive games with haley.. thats haleys job.. ben hitting his receivers in stride is ben's job.

Big T
10-30-2014, 09:39 AM
Obviously, the problem is with the Steelers fanbase. When our offense plays sh!tty, it is Haley's fault. When they play lights out, Ben gets all the credit.

That is completely unreasonable.

Speaking of unreasonable, where's NPB? Lol. Haven't seen him on all week. He's not banned is he?

Blitzburghpete
10-30-2014, 10:03 AM
LOL I disgree with the conclusion of the article, as it's haleys play calling at KEY moments that worry me. Against the Colts i said last week i think that was Haleys finest hour, and fair play to haley for that.

My concern is, as per Tomlin, when the pressure is on, when it really matters it's like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

I'll give you an example. I know it worked but you telling me this was the best call.

1st and goal at the oppenents 3 yard line and you call a reverse, reverse pass ?? Thank crumbs it worked ! It was a horrible call even though it got us the TD, there was far too much risk in it IMO.

I'm coming round to Haley, especially the pro longing Hall of Fames Ben's Career ( yes i just said HOF Ben :) ) just at crucial moments he needs to get it right more often.

TarlsQtr
10-30-2014, 10:31 AM
LOL I disgree with the conclusion of the article, as it's haleys play calling at KEY moments that worry me. Against the Colts i said last week i think that was Haleys finest hour, and fair play to haley for that.

My concern is, as per Tomlin, when the pressure is on, when it really matters it's like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

I'll give you an example. I know it worked but you telling me this was the best call.

1st and goal at the oppenents 3 yard line and you call a reverse, reverse pass ?? Thank crumbs it worked ! It was a horrible call even though it got us the TD, there was far too much risk in it IMO.

I'm coming round to Haley, especially the pro longing Hall of Fames Ben's Career ( yes i just said HOF Ben :) ) just at crucial moments he needs to get it right more often.

We can cherry pick bad calls from every OC in the league if we tried. If you call 60-80 plays a game, some will be duds.

I did not like the call you mention either. However, I can at least understand it in the light of how poorly we had been in the red zone. Trying to make something happen.

I am not saying you specifically, but if we ran a run play that did not work, there would be wailing and gnashing of teeth towards Haley (Too conservative! Be creative!). If he ran a standard pass play that did not work, there would be wailing and gnashing of teeth towards Haley (Give it to our stud RB!).

harpo
10-30-2014, 11:41 AM
LOL I disgree with the conclusion of the article, as it's haleys play calling at KEY moments that worry me. Against the Colts i said last week i think that was Haleys finest hour, and fair play to haley for that.

My concern is, as per Tomlin, when the pressure is on, when it really matters it's like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

I'll give you an example. I know it worked but you telling me this was the best call.

1st and goal at the oppenents 3 yard line and you call a reverse, reverse pass ?? Thank crumbs it worked ! It was a horrible call even though it got us the TD, there was far too much risk in it IMO.

I'm coming round to Haley, especially the pro longing Hall of Fames Ben's Career ( yes i just said HOF Ben :) ) just at crucial moments he needs to get it right more often.

Just an FYI.....it was Tomlin who made that play call, not Haley. But......I understand your concern(s) nonetheless.

Raleigh Steel
10-30-2014, 12:23 PM
http://youtu.be/TpaanWLM48c

NeilPatrickBanana
10-30-2014, 12:26 PM
We can cherry pick bad calls from every OC in the league if we tried. If you call 60-80 plays a game, some will be duds.

I did not like the call you mention either. However, I can at least understand it in the light of how poorly we had been in the red zone. Trying to make something happen.

I am not saying you specifically, but if we ran a run play that did not work, there would be wailing and gnashing of teeth towards Haley (Too conservative! Be creative!). If he ran a standard pass play that did not work, there would be wailing and gnashing of teeth towards Haley (Give it to our stud RB!).

exactly.

it is funny that after so many complaints about every variation of unsuccessful play calling in the red zone... some are now even complaining about successful playcalls.

(t minus 8 minutes until chuck makes another futile attempt to permanently ban me)

Rollers
10-30-2014, 12:28 PM
you can't cherry pick calls to hit the OC on. at some point any call that is critical will at times fail. So good calls all through the game can't be negated by a call that didn't work. Why didn't it work? execution? At times you roll the dice. That's coaching. When it's fourth and three there is no win for the OC. No matter what he calls it has a chance of failing. Sometimes when you run into the middle of the line thinking the game is over it backfires. Sometimes the guy pops it for big yardage. Don't ciriticize a guy on one play. Look at the totality of the game. I think the trend I see in these situations which I like is getting away from trying to run that little stretch play between the end and the tackle which usually gets blown up by the offside defense catching the guy from behind. Attack straight or stretch the field with play action. I still think Archer will help in these situations eventually. The offense is growing a little. Let's see if they can carry it through. I'm still not sold that our offensive line is rebuilt. The Ravens will test that theory.

Blitzburghpete
10-30-2014, 12:51 PM
I hear what you guys are saying about it's unfair on the oc, however i do feel i CAN actually cherry pick as sometimes games DO come down to just one or two plays.

Example the 3rd and 1 draw V the Browns with the line stacked. Get the first down on that play the game is over. KEY moment.
Another example 3rd and 5 just one first down away from sealing the game and the win V tampa we yet again run the same draw play.
The WR pass at the 3 yard line wasn't the only time we've run stupid plays near the goal line. ( game forgets me but it was the one where they ran archer on a jet sweep followed by 2 passes from the 5 )

Another example is in the first 5 weeks the ludicrous amount of bubble screens

My point is i GET we sometimes need to be creative, especially if we struggle near the end zone, BUT, if we were running Blount up the middle inside the 5, using Heath "red zone" Miller, 6 foot 4 M Bryant, 6 foot 7 Matt Speath , and not getting in in these situation then sure, why not try the reverse pass stuff, but lets try using the easier options of the 3 huge recivers first beofre we get fancy and risky ??? But we haven't really done that though.

SAYING all this though, the Houston game and the COLTS game, i think Haley has nailed both games ( most part ) and he's turning it around for me. I like to think that turn arounds is because we've stopped using so many bubble screens and draw plays.

Watch V the ravens, WHEN it REALLY matters, how many predictable calls they make at GAME deciding moments. See how Haley does over the next 2 weeks but THIS weekends game is CRUCIAL to get right.

I believe in Haley right now, i didn't think i would say that ever, but man i feel nervous about his calls when it matters.

TarlsQtr
10-30-2014, 01:12 PM
I hear what you guys are saying about it's unfair on the oc, however i do feel i CAN actually cherry pick as sometimes games DO come down to just one or two plays.

Example the 3rd and 1 draw V the Browns with the line stacked. Get the first down on that play the game is over. KEY moment.
Another example 3rd and 5 just one first down away from sealing the game and the win V tampa we yet again run the same draw play.
The WR pass at the 3 yard line wasn't the only time we've run stupid plays near the goal line. ( game forgets me but it was the one where they ran archer on a jet sweep followed by 2 passes from the 5 )

Another example is in the first 5 weeks the ludicrous amount of bubble screens

My point is i GET we sometimes need to be creative, especially if we struggle near the end zone, BUT, if we were running Blount up the middle inside the 5, using Heath "red zone" Miller, 6 foot 4 M Bryant, 6 foot 7 Matt Speath , and not getting in in these situation then sure, why not try the reverse pass stuff, but lets try using the easier options of the 3 huge recivers first beofre we get fancy and risky ??? But we haven't really done that though.

SAYING all this though, the Houston game and the COLTS game, i think Haley has nailed both games ( most part ) and he's turning it around for me. I like to think that turn arounds is because we've stopped using so many bubble screens and draw plays.

Watch V the ravens, WHEN it REALLY matters, how many predictable calls they make at GAME deciding moments. See how Haley does over the next 2 weeks but THIS weekends game is CRUCIAL to get right.

I believe in Haley right now, i didn't think i would say that ever, but man i feel nervous about his calls when it matters.

I think something we all forget, however, is that we generally see plays as single photographs instead of part of a movie.

Let's take the draw play. Our coaches may have watched tons of tape where we run the same formation and the defense plays it a certain way that makes it susceptible to a draw play. We may have run that formation 3 times earlier in the game and the D played it a certain way that makes it susceptible to the draw play. At a crucial time, we pull the trigger on the perfect play (from the same formation) to take advantage of it but the D does something different and it gets crushed. As fans, we have no idea other than to scream"Effing draw!" what happened and that it was the right call.

I think we also ignore poor execution a lot.

Big T
10-30-2014, 01:22 PM
I think something we all forget, however, is that we generally see plays as single photographs instead of part of a movie.

Let's take the draw play. Our coaches may have watched tons of tape where we run the same formation and the defense plays it a certain way that makes it susceptible to a draw play. We may have run that formation 3 times earlier in the game and the D played it a certain way that makes it susceptible to the draw play. At a crucial time, we pull the trigger on the perfect play (from the same formation) to take advantage of it but the D does something different and it gets crushed. As fans, we have no idea other than to scream"Effing draw!" what happened and that it was the right call.

I think we also ignore poor execution a lot.

Agreed

Blitzburghpete
10-30-2014, 01:32 PM
yeah i agree the poor execution is harder to pin on people so the OC gets it in the neck for that . Good call tarls and good point :)

I'll flip this a litle though. The game after Tampa V the panthers i think, we again had a fairly crucial keep the drive going to eat the clock 3rd down play. I said it was the play we should have ran V the Browns and the Bucs, the play action hit heath in the slot. Well credit to haley he called it and Miller was wide open for easy first down.

I don't mean that to sound like i'm a know it all, i mention it becuase it it's the kind of reliable, i haven't got a problem if it doesn't work sort of play. Heath is a beast as a reciever and was open all day long against Tampa yet the time we could have used that we didn't. You can then say we would be too predicable if we used that play all the time, and your right, so then we move on to plan b for that sort of play.

I just feel Haley sometimes goes to plan c d and e, when we haven't tried plan a or b yet! LOL

Don't get me wrong, right now, especially the last couple games, i think haley has done a wonderful job and i hope he continues like he has. I just hope 522 yard, 6 td's and 51 points, and how we got them ( by throwing vertical more ) isn't forgotton and we out coach ourselves and suddenly go conservative. Let the Ravens try and stop OUR game before we go to plan c d or e!

When the Steelers were agressive on offence look what happend week 1 V the Browns and V the Panthers in the second half. We belived in ourselves and went for it. I want more of this self belief and less try not to loose the game play calls, like the last 2 weeks have been to be fair :)