Todd Haley said he won't just plug Byron Leftwich into injured Ben Roethlisberger's spot and carry on as usual. The offense will have to adapt to Leftwich rather than the other way around.
"Byron is not Ben, and I think it's very important that we and he understand that," Haley said after practice Thursday. "He can't go out there trying to be Ben; he needs to go out there and be Byron.
"This is why I make the point every time you all say 'Haley's offense,' it's not my offense. We're going to do things to cater to the strength of our players. Obviously, that will be critical when you talk about the quarterback position. We're going to cater to Byron's strengths, as opposed to trying to force square pegs into round holes, so to speak."
How refreshing must that be in the executive offices? They've had coordinators in the past who frustrated them by forcing their offense's schemes down their players throats no matter what happened -- different quarterback, new running backs, different types of offensive linemen.
But Haley has shown throughout his career that he adapts to his personnel, most strikingly so when he left his high-flying passing machine in Arizona to a ground-oriented offense in Kansas City.
Now he is presented with the loss of one of the NFL's most elite and versatile quarterbacks, to one who has little mobility but a rifle arm and something else Haley tried to explain about Leftwich.
"I think there is a lot to like about him. ... First and foremost, when you're around Byron for a very short time, you understand that he's just got that it factor. Everybody remembers when he was coming out [at Marshall University] and his team was carrying him down the field with his leg dangling from the knee joint. That isn't something everybody has, but he has it.
"When things occurred in the game last week, there was a great look in his eye. There was never a moment that you really didn't believe and think he was a cool customer. He's been there and done it and he's just got that moxie that good quarterbacks seem to have."
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