Offense faces first live test tonight
August 9, 2012 1:14 am
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
PHILADELPHIA -- Todd Haley was going through some of the nuances and play-calling of the no-huddle offense on the practice field Tuesday morning and was about to call a play for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
But, before Haley could get the words out of his mouth, Roethlisberger called out the exact same play his coordinator had in mind.
"Those are good signs," Haley said. "And that's happened multiple times. Those are good signs that we're kind of thinking along the same lines. That's what has to occur. When that is occurring between play-caller and quarterback, those are usually good signs."
Haley and Roethlisberger are on the same page in one other regard, too: They each say the offense is evolving daily, with the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle starting to slowly come together to form some kind of big picture.
The evolution of the offense that Haley is installing in his first year as offensive coordinator will take a bigger step when the Steelers open their preseason against the Philadelphia Eagles at 7:30 p.m. today at Lincoln Financial Field.
Granted, it's only a preseason game, and neither team will game plan or unveil much more than their basic offensive and defensive approach. Nonetheless, it's the first time the Steelers will unveil some of their offensive approach under Haley.
And, for the first time in 22 years, the offense will be guided by a coordinator who wasn't with the team the year before. An outsider, if you will.
"It's very exciting," Haley said. "When you have a signal-caller like Ben who has won a lot of games, who's good at what he does and is in the prime of his career, and you know he can and will continue to get better, that's exciting itself."
Preseason games usually are not cause for much anticipation, at least, not among veteran players, especially a quarterback who has played in three Super Bowls and won two.
And Roethlisberger's appearance time against the Eagles will be brief -- no more than one or two series for the starters, said coach Mike Tomlin.
Still, there is a little different feeling for this game because it's the first time the players will get a feel for how Haley likes to call a game or how he reacts to what he sees on the field. Since Tomlin became coach in 2007, many of the players knew only one offensive coordinator -- Bruce Arians, who was the wide receivers coach for three years before he took over from Ken Whisenhunt.
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