View Full Version : Bires: It's up to Ben, Steelers to embrace Haley's methods

02-11-2012, 08:49 PM
Bires: It's up to Ben, Steelers to embrace Haley's methods

Fri Feb 10, 2012
By Mike Bires mbires@timesonline.com

PITTSBURGH -- Sometime soon, Ben Roethlisberger will meet his new offensive coordinator. That may happen as early as today.

When they do sit down face to face for the first time, it promises to be interesting to say the least.

It’s well documented that the Steelers’ star quarterback is disappointed with the change from Bruce Arians to Todd Haley.

Too bad.

Arians is gone. Haley is here. It’s time to move on.

As a ninth-year pro whose three Super Bowl appearances put him in the upper echelon of NFL QBs, Roethlisberger should be mature enough to handle the transition. If indeed he is the leader he claims to be, he should embrace Haley’s plan and go with it.

It’s well documented that Roethlisberger and Arians had a solid working relationship and a good friendship away from football. Roethlisberger may never become close friends with Haley, but it’s up to him to make sure there’s a positive connection on the job.

Haley, who was fired 13 games into his third season as head coach in Kansas City, comes to Pittsburgh with the reputation as a head-strong guy who’s not afraid to yell at players if need be.

None of the Steelers, not even Roethlisberger, should feel threatened by that.

This is all about winning, and coaches throughout the years have had different ways of getting their message across. If Haley yells his head off and the Steelers light up the scoreboard, so be it.

“One of the first things I will say to these guys is we aren’t going to be into a lot of sensitivity,” Haley said. “If you are sensitive, this is probably not the best place to be.”

Really, Haley’s combustible personality might be exactly what the Steelers need to elevate their offense a few notches. How many times was it said last season that the Steelers are on the verge of developing into one of the league’s most explosive offenses?

Well, they weren’t, and injuries were only a part of the problem.

They didn’t run the ball well enough. Too often, wide receivers dropped passes or failed to make the great catch when given the chance. The O-line didn’t block well enough. And yes, Mr. Roethlisberger wasn’t always as great as he should have been.

The bottom line is that the Steelers ranked 22nd in the league in scoring.

If the Steelers are serious about their “standard is the standard” motto, finishing 22nd in scoring is unacceptable.

Often over the past five years, fans and media criticized Arians for his schemes and philosophies. For the most part, I defended him. The Steelers accomplished some pretty neat things under Arians, including making it to the Super Bowl twice.

More than the man calling the plays, it’s the men executing them who matter most.

That’s why the Steelers have a good chance to become explosive under Haley’s watch.
There’s a lot of talent on offense.

On Haley’s resume as an assistant and head coach are impressive success stories. He’s worked with Pro Bowl receivers in New York (Keyshawn Johnson), Dallas (Terry Glenn), Chicago (Marty Booker), Arizona (Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin) and Kansas City (Dwayne Bowe).

So Haley figures to be a positive influence on the Steelers’ “Young Money” wideout corps of Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.

Haley has also worked with Pro Bowl QBs before: Tony Romo in Dallas, Kurt Warner in Arizona and Matt Cassel in K.C.

And just to show that Haley is not all about the forward pass, the Chiefs led the NFL in rushing two years ago.

When asked Thursday if he’ll put more emphasis on the running game in Pittsburgh, Haley gave the perfect answer.

“Emphasis on winning,” he said.

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02-16-2012, 01:01 PM
Ed: Sideline Best Spot for Haley


Good morning,

We have a backlog of questions to get to and this morning we get to them:

-- YOU: Ed, Art is still very young but it's always good to have a plan. What is the Rooney succession plan? Never hear anything about a young Rooney waiting in the wings.
ME: You mean like UK royalty, who is Art's first born? I don't know that they have a succession plan. They do have a board of directors that includes some Rooneys and some of the new inverstors/partners/owners. They would be the ones to elect a president and it would not necessarily have to be from the Rooney family. As for it staying in the Rooney family, Dan Rooney Jr. is the only other member of the family working for the team. He's Art's brother and a scout.

-- YOU: A lot has been made of the post-SB party the Patriots held where Rob Gronkowski and Matt Light danced like Alex Wright and Disco Inferno on a 1998 episode of Monday Nitro. Anyway, is it common practice to throw a party even if you lose the Super Bowl? Obviously you would plan a party, but I figured it would be cancelled if you lost. Did the Steelers have a party after their loss at Super Bowl 45? As always, thanks for the great work.
ME: Yes it's common practice and yes the Steelers have them too. Those are not parties you really want to attend. I did attend one after they lost to Dallas in Super Bowl XXX. I don't recall any players shaking their booty even though KC and the Sunshine Band was playing. The food was good, though.

-- YOU: Love your work Mr. Bouchette. How do you think the receiver situation will pan out? Wallace, after an unimpressive second-half this season is an RA. Antonio Brown, who looks to be a star, will be an RA after next season. I think they should franchise Wallace (not sure what that number would be) and hope there's a bit of competition between he and Brown going into next offseason for a long-term contract. They could try to lock up Brown now, but don't have a lot of cap room and they could rub Wallace the wrong way. Thoughts?

ME: I don't believe anyone will be willing to give up a No. 1 pick to sign Wallace, so he'll be here with his RFA tender and perhaps they will negotiate a long-term deal he will sign. I believe strongly they will not franchise Wallace for several reasons, all of them $$$$$. His RFA tender would cost about $2.7 million. The franchise fee would cost $9.5 million. With their salary cap problems, they cannot afford that franchise fee and they do not want to pay him that much money. Also, if you make him the franchise player, $9.5 million per year is where his agent will start in negotiations for a long-term contract. I believe they will take their chances with him as an RFA, which also gives them the right to match any contract someone else may sign him to.

-- YOU: Ed,

I have a thought on the Haley hiring that seems to be overlooked. It
may seem illogical to most, but see if you can follow this and possibly
even agree with it. I am an owner of a very successful business in
Arizona, so I am looking at this hire as a GREAT move by the Steeler
organization for the SHORT TERM. I truly believe it is a short term
solution (I would love to know the length and terms of Haley's contract)
and here is why; the Steelers have a quick out no matter what happens,
and they get the benefit of a "stir the pot" shot-in-the-arm motivation
this year. Here is how I figure things - the front office wants
stability (based on history) and I believe the man they wanted to run
their offense is still in the hospital recovering from burns. So, they
hire a firecracker in Haley to "stir the pot". Haley does NOT have a
history of staying in one place too long. If Haley succeeds, and the
Steeler's offense improves - Haley goes away to become a head coach
somewhere after 1 or maybe 2 years - and the Steelers promote from
within. If Haley fails, and the offense stays the same or declines -
with his fiery personality - he is easily let go after a year or two,
and the Steelers promote from within to a "friendlier player's coach" to
get things back.
I believe the Steelers will improve on offense (as usually happens when
a different motivation is used -- people gripe, then respond and true
professionals tend to dig deep and put forth more effort when all is
said and done), and Haley will be gone to take over as a head coach in a
year or two. But, either way, I see Haley gone in a year or two, and
you will see the Steelers promote from with-in. Here is the real
kicker, I believe Tomlin has already told his QB coach and some of his
other offensive coaches just that - that Haley is a short term shot in
the arm - and their time to "interview" is only a year or two away - and
that is how you get your key coaches to "by-in" and stick around.
Conspiracy theory -- maybe. Great management - definitely. But I would
expect nothing less from great motivators such as Tomlin. That is how
you win, and why they are in the position(s) they are in.
What do you think ---- am I crazy?

ME: As Kevin Colbert might say, I am no doctor. However, your theory does fly against the statement by Art Rooney that he would like to have an offensive coordinator who will stick around for awhile. Then again, any younger man they hire at the coordinato spots would want to be a head coach some day, especially if he's already had a taste of being one. I truly believe they hired the man they thought was best for the job without all the other rigamarole.

-- YOU: Re Weslye Saunders – do we know what he did – was it “recreational” or “performance enhancing” drugs? Also your cohort Gerry thinks that this will directly lead to his ticket out of town. Too bad if true because he has a lot of potential, is the new protypical size for an NFL tight end, and his departure leaves another hole which the Steelers must fill. Imagine if Heath had an injury – I just don’t see David Johnson catching a lot of 3d and 5 passes. So in addition to solving salary cap issues, filling holes at NT and filling holes on OL, now the Steelers need to use resources ($ or draft picks) to find a tight end to develop.

ME: It was performance enhancing, but we do not know the specifics and there are many supplements banned by the NFL. At least Saunders hasn't said he was taking something he did not know was banned. I tend to agree with GD on this and believe the Steelers not only will look for a tight end but need a good No. 2.

-- YOU: why is Haley getting crucified before he even starts. I am not a fan of "guilty because someone said so" and think people rush to judgement. So what if he's edgy!? I frankly think it's the spark a somewhat emotionless 2011 Steeler team needed to match their brains and skill with an electric emotional edge. My British friends often tell me Americans are far to worried about keeping everyone happy. In this case, I agree. I'll give the man a chance.

ME: Few seemed to complain about Bill Cowher's sideline eruptions as a head coach. I found them entertaining. I just hope Todd Haley is on the sideline and not in the press box so we can all enjoy what's going on if he does get demonstrative. I asked him if he would be in the press box or on the sideline next season and he said that hasn't been determined.

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