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hawaiiansteel
07-11-2012, 07:07 PM
My One Nagging Concern About the Upcoming Steelers Season: Todd Haley

by Anthony Defeo on Jul 11, 2012

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/4632132/20120522_jla_al8_287_extra_large.jpg

about 1 month ago: May 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley gives instructions during organized team activities at the Steelers training facility.

Steelers Training Camp is just weeks away, and for thousands of faithful out there, it might as well be Christmas. Back when the Steelers lost their heartbreaker to the Broncos on January 8th, the start of the new season seemed like an eternity.

Now it's almost here, and I can't wait for things to get rolling.

Yes, every new season brings hope and optimism, especially for me. I'm not one of those people who ever has any grave "concerns" about the Steelers, at least not in the offseason. During the season, I might worry about an injury or a crucial game that's coming up, but in the offseason, I'm normally just counting down the days until September.

But this offseason is different. Everytime I think about the upcoming season, my mind never strays too far away from new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, and how the dynamics of his new system will play out in 2012.

From the beginning, I was a little concerned with everyone's enthusiasm about the implementation of an "official" fullback, even though, as it turns out, it's more than likely going to be David Johnson with a new number.

With a fullback in place, this could open up the play-action pass for Ben Roethlisberger a little more. There is also excitement for the possibility that Haley may be putting more emphasis on running the football this season. I could never figure out why people didn't think the Steelers had an effective ground game under Bruce Arians. While it may not have been the best in the league, it was probably a little more effective than people gave it credit for.

According to the stats I compiled on Pro Football Reference, in five seasons under Arians, the Steelers averaged 118 yards a game rushing the football, just over 4.1 yards per carry, and nearly 29 carries a game. In 2007, Willie Parker was leading the NFL in rushing before he broke his leg late in the season. And Rashard Mendenhall has averaged 4.3 yards per carry in his three full seasons as a starter.

I'm not trying to make this an Arians vs. Haley argument. There was clearly a problem with scoring points under Arians, as the team normally finished near the middle of the pack or worse under his leadership--last year, the Steelers only scored 16 more points than the pretty pedestrian Denver offense. Whether it was from a lack of imagination with regards to play-calling or an inferior offensive line, a change probably needed to be made just so we could find out once and for all. But 118 yards a game on the ground would seem to be effective enough production in today's pass-heavy NFL, especially when the OC had an elite quarterback and many aerial weapons at his disposal.

So, when people say "more emphasis on the run," what are they hoping for? Are they looking for a return to the mid-90's under Cowher? Well, I sure hope Haley isn't.

There is also great excitement about Haley's philosophy of utilizing the running backs out of the backfield in the passing game, and I can certainly get behind that. There were many times over the years when I wished Big Ben would just check the ball down to the open back circling out of the backfield instead of going for the bomb.

In Mendenhall, Redman, and maybe Batch and Rainey, the Steelers certainly have a stable of backs who are more than capable of being effective weapons in the passing game. Having said that, there is concern on my part about the absence of the lead horse in the stable of backs--Mendenhall. Without Mendenhall, who could possibly miss at least a portion of the 2012 season due to offseason ACL surgery, will the other backs be able to carry-out Haley's game plan?

Also, I think putting too much emphasis on the backs would take away from what I think is the real strength of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense: the wide receivers.

In Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery, I believe the Steelers have the best receiving corps in the NFL, and I think they should be the main focus each and every week.

My real hope is that Haley is able to come in and make the Steelers' offense more explosive and dynamic by utilizing every facet of his arsenal, but especially the offense's strengths.

Haley's said that he's not a "systems" coach, and that he'll design his game plan each week according to what his team's strengths are and what he thinks is the best way to attack an opponent's defense. That's pretty comforting, and I hope he's sincere. One of Arian's weaknesses was an apparent unwillingness to tailor a game plan for a specific opponent more often than perhaps he should have.

At least Haley has a history of being flexible in that department. As OC in Arizona, he had maybe the most dynamic passing attack in he NFL, including three 1000 yard receivers in 2008. And as Head Coach of the Chiefs in 2010, he had the number one rushing attack in the NFL.

I'm not saying that I don't want Haley to come in and run the football at all. It's just that I don't want to see him do it just because he feels he HAS to in-order to appease the fan base.

And I haven't even talked about the terminology that all these guys must learn. Yes, plays are plays, and most teams pretty much have the same ones in their playbooks, but the terminology and signals are surely different from team-to-team. Hopefully, that's not something that hinders the unit for very long. Especially Big Ben. At 30, he's at the age where everything is starting to make sense to him. Last season, broadcasters would comment on how much more comfortable he was with everything, and how he was able to read defenses better than he ever had before.

The last thing I want to see is Roethlisberger take a step back at this stage of his career. He's already one of the best in the game, and I hope Todd Haley pushes him further in that direction and doesn't pull him back to the pack.

Anyway, these are my concerns about the new offense. They're not grave concerns, but they're enough to make me sit down and write about them.

Anyone else have similar concerns?

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/7/11/3151432/my-one-nagging-concern-about-the-upcoming-steelers-season-todd-haley#storyjump

Djfan
07-11-2012, 10:57 PM
I don't get it. His concern is there because BA had a good or better run game?

What's the point?

I do like the part about Haley being a "non system" guy, who will set a game plan according to the opponent.

hawaiiansteel
07-12-2012, 12:08 AM
I do like the part about Haley being a "non system" guy, who will set a game plan according to the opponent.


there were many things I didn't like about Bruce Arians and his offense but my main complaint was always that he was stubborn beyond belief and insisted on running his system while seemingly completely ignoring our opponents' weaknesses.

I got my hopes up that Arians had finally seen the light when we passed the Patriots* non-existent secondary silly but the following game Arians went right back to his old stubborn ways.

BradshawsHairdresser
07-12-2012, 12:11 AM
Unless he goes comatose, Haley will be an upgrade over Arians.

rpmpit
07-12-2012, 07:36 AM
Unless he goes comatose, Haley will be an upgrade over Arians.


Have to say that:Agree

flippy
07-12-2012, 08:58 AM
I think people fear the OCs we brought in for Kordell Stewart. This is completely different. We're talking about a real QB this time and a coach that's made it work with whatever group of guys he's had.

The QB is better.

The coach is less rigid in his system.

Seems like a great match. And not enough people in Pittsburgh realize the Pirates are playing well yet.

NorthCoast
07-12-2012, 10:42 AM
there were many things I didn't like about Bruce Arians and his offense but my main complaint was always that he was stubborn beyond belief and insisted on running his system while seemingly completely ignoring our opponents' weaknesses.

I got my hopes up that Arians had finally seen the light when we passed the Patriots* non-existent secondary silly but the following game Arians went right back to his old stubborn ways.

The BA quote will live on in infamy: "we don't change our gameplan based on who is injured or is in the game".

Oviedo
07-12-2012, 10:47 AM
I'm more worried about Ben breaking bad habits than I am about Haley. I think Haley will call a very efficient game and will alter his gameplan to use what is working. I always worry about Ben wanting to be a "gunslinger" and force the play downfield. Love Ben to death but that part of his game needs to change/mature.

Sugar
07-12-2012, 10:55 AM
Unless he goes comatose, Haley will be an upgrade over Arians.

I think that even if Arians were here, the new and improved OL would make the team better. Haley will almost certainly benefit from this.

Jigawatts
07-12-2012, 01:15 PM
I think that even if Arians were here, the new and improved OL would make the team better. Haley will almost certainly benefit from this.

He most certainly will, but I think most of us agree that the problem with Arians is that he refused to adjust. With that line, you'd think Arians would open up the play book to the "get the ball out of the QB's hands as fast as possible" chapter. Nope, here's another long developing play Ben, I hope you like Haloti Ngata's forearm in your nose.

feltdizz
07-12-2012, 01:17 PM
He most certainly will, but I think most of us agree that the problem with Arians is that he refused to adjust. With that line, you'd think Arians would open up the play book to the "get the ball out of the QB's hands as fast as possible" chapter. Nope, here's another long developing play Ben, I hope you like Haloti Ngata's forearm in your nose.

Do you think that was all on BA? I'm curious to see if Ben will embrace a quick strike offense with 3 and 5 step drops.

Jigawatts
07-12-2012, 01:28 PM
We all know Ben likes to make the big play so you can't put it all on Arians. In this case I'd like to think of Arians as more of an enabler. I'm hoping a more iron-fisted Haley will help Ben realize how much better he can be when he takes what is given.

Ghost
07-12-2012, 08:56 PM
I think I have faith that Tomlin didn't just fall off the turnip truck and actually picked the guy he wanted and who he thought could do the job properly utilizing the talents on the team. Haley is not a worry at all.

D Rock
07-12-2012, 09:52 PM
We all know Ben likes to make the big play so you can't put it all on Arians. In this case I'd like to think of Arians as more of an enabler. I'm hoping a more iron-fisted Haley will help Ben realize how much better he can be when he takes what is given.


I really think this is pretty close to the truth. Ben plays a wild game. Bruce didn't regulate that game much. That game needs some regulation.

RuthlessBurgher
07-13-2012, 10:12 AM
I really think this is pretty close to the truth. Ben plays a wild game. Bruce didn't regulate that game much. That game needs some regulation.

If this were last week, that statement would have spawned 30 more pages onto this thread within the first hour. ;)

Oviedo
07-13-2012, 10:28 AM
If this were last week, that statement would have spawned 30 more pages onto this thread within the first hour. ;)

...with personal attacks on at least four other posters.

Jigawatts
07-13-2012, 12:01 PM
If this were last week, that statement would have spawned 30 more pages onto this thread within the first hour. ;)

Hines Ward is divorced

Sugar
07-13-2012, 12:40 PM
I think I have faith that Tomlin didn't just fall off the turnip truck and actually picked the guy he wanted and who he thought could do the job properly utilizing the talents on the team. Haley is not a worry at all.

Imagine that! I think that as well. That's why I don't think that Haley's supposed short fuse will be much of an issue. Tomlin is the straw that stirs the drink here.

grotonsteel
07-13-2012, 12:58 PM
My real hope is that Haley is able to come in and make the Steelers' offense more explosive and dynamic by utilizing every facet of his arsenal, but especially the offense's strengths.

Haley's said that he's not a "systems" coach, and that he'll design his game plan each week according to what his team's strengths are and what he thinks is the best way to attack an opponent's defense. That's pretty comforting, and I hope he's sincere. One of Arian's weaknesses was an apparent unwillingness to tailor a game plan for a specific opponent more often than perhaps he should have.

At least Haley has a history of being flexible in that department. As OC in Arizona, he had maybe the most dynamic passing attack in he NFL, including three 1000 yard receivers in 2008. And as Head Coach of the Chiefs in 2010, he had the number one rushing attack in the NFL.

I'm not saying that I don't want Haley to come in and run the football at all. It's just that I don't want to see him do it just because he feels he HAS to in-order to appease the fan base.

The last thing I want to see is Roethlisberger take a step back at this stage of his career. He's already one of the best in the game, and I hope Todd Haley pushes him further in that direction and doesn't pull him back to the pack.

Anyway, these are my concerns about the new offense.
Anyone else have similar concerns?

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/7/11/3151432/my-one-nagging-concern-about-the-upcoming-steelers-season-todd-haley#storyjump


Nice Article. I have similar concerns.

Ben and the WRs should be the focal point in the offense. Utilize the entire field.

Todd Haley should not run the ball just to appease certain section of Steelers fan base who are still gung-ho about playing Marty-ball once Steelers take the lead.

I would be really upset if the first play of the season is RUTM for 1 yard gain.

hawaiiansteel
07-13-2012, 01:06 PM
Hines Ward is divorced

not to mention that Hines also hung out with known drug dealers...;)

costanza2k1
07-13-2012, 01:47 PM
Do you think that was all on BA? I'm curious to see if Ben will embrace a quick strike offense with 3 and 5 step drops.

I think he'll embrace it as it will get him another shot at a ring...I believe is healthy enough to give him some deep shots down the field too. I was never a fan of the long developing plays that Arians had...so hyped for this season!

Djfan
07-13-2012, 02:08 PM
Todd Haley should not run the ball just to appease certain section of Steelers fan base who are still gung-ho about playing Marty-ball once Steelers take the lead.

I would be really upset if the first play of the season is RUTM for 1 yard gain.

So, I'm thinking that a really influential fan by the name of Art Rooney is looking for a better run game. That might change up the perception a bit.

Just saying.....

hawaiiansteel
07-13-2012, 04:47 PM
so hyped for this season!


The Craving for Steelers Football is Powerful

Jul 12th, 2012 by dbuzardSteelers

http://nicepickcowher.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/58/files/2012/07/6210742.jpg

This is the time of year that really leaves me feeling melancholy and itchy. The sun is out. The temperature is hovering between ‘exceedingly pleasant’ and ‘Holy **** is it hot’. I just spent some days off with my wife. Life, it would seem, could not possibly get any sweeter. Yet I am as despondent as a Cure fan. Something is missing and that something is Professional Tackle Football. You are missing it to, friend. You are surfing the ‘Net looking for any nugget of news about the Pittsburgh Steelers. Your Pittsburgh Steelers! You’re Jonesin’ for anything you can get. Well come on in and introduce yourself. The meeting is about to begin!

I fool myself every year at the season’s end. The inner dialog begins: “Now I can get to that drywall project that I started 18 months ago” or “I’m going to get back to reading more books” or “Maybe the dog will act less flakey now that I’m not screaming randomly at the television on Monday nights, some Thursday Nights, all day Sunday, and even Thanksgiving. Because, come on, who the hell in their right mind should be yelling and screaming on Thanksgiving”. Yes, it’s a dark and smelly place in my brain. It never happens though….. I had myself convinced that after last season’s nauseating first round loss to Denver that I could really pull it off this year. This off season was really going to be an offseason for me. Smooth, painted walls, fine literature, and a calm canine were all within my reach. The illusion lasted three days. Then came the sweats and the fine muscle twitches. The cravings and hallucinations kicked in Wednesday morning following the loss. Mood swings, headache, diarrhea by Friday afternoon. OK, some of that might have been the flu but I’m sure the majority of the symptoms came from Steelers Withdrawal Syndrome. There were some short term fixes available to me. There were, after all, two more rounds of the playoffs to watch AND the Super Bowl. But those things alone, without the Steelers, is like switching to NyQuil when you are used to drinking Jagermeister. Ok, poor example but you get my drift. There’s no ready made ‘Trainspotting Approved’ cure that I can Google.

In my abusive relationship with the Steelers offseason even bad news is news I’ll take. Just please, please keep talking! Hines and Farrior are done. “Ouch. What else do you got?” Mendenhall, Starks, and Hampton are badly injured. “Wow! That sucks. Tell me more.” The Wallace Situation is getting nowhere. “AHHRRGHHH! Gimmie. Gimmie. Gimmie. I need. I need. I need.” It’s a problem, I know. The disease knows no boundaries. It afflicts equally from little hacks like me trying to work out my frustrations at your expense, to the heavy hitters of the big boy networks scrambling for stories. Right now The NFL website has four stories about the supplemental draft for your pleasure. They’re hurting too. They are even considering pulling the stake from Al Davis’s heart and unleashing his insane demonic wrath upon the zombie Pete Rozelle in an undead battle over moving the Raiders back to Los Angeles. Hey. I’d watch that!

http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/07/12/the-craving-for-steelers-football-is-powerful/

DBR96A
07-14-2012, 05:53 PM
I actually know one of the people in that picture above.

RuthlessBurgher
07-14-2012, 11:39 PM
I actually know one of the people in that picture above.

Is it the guy in the red hat in the background with the freaked out look on his face? :p

Captain Lemming
07-15-2012, 12:31 AM
Is it the guy in the red hat in the background with the freaked out look on his face? :p

Too funny.

Red hat is like to guys on "The Watch"


"Anyone of these people can be an alien. What is weird yellow substance oozing from their pores!!!"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCZB2q84jAk&feature=player_detailpage

Slapstick
07-15-2012, 12:00 PM
Todd Haley should not run the ball just to appease certain section of Steelers fan base who are still gung-ho about playing Marty-ball once Steelers take the lead.


Correct. The Steelers should run the ball well because doing so increases the chances of scoring points and, therefore, winning...

DBR96A
07-15-2012, 02:44 PM
Is it the guy in the red hat in the background with the freaked out look on his face? :p

Nope, one of the four in front.

Ghost
07-16-2012, 08:08 AM
Nope, one of the four in front.

The guy on the left with the yellow hat w/ emblem - we go to the same Steelers bar to watch the games. See him all the time. Used to see him at the old Steelers bar before it closed down.