Despite getting their first win of the season last Sunday against the New York Jets, it’s was still frustrating to watch the Steelers trudge along in futile attempts to move the ball on the ground and put themselves in second- and third-and-long situations.
The one bright spot thus far though has been quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is off to a fantastic start. Through a pair of games, Roethlisberger has completed 65 percent of his passes for 520 yards, four touchdowns and only one interception. In addition he has been the best quarterback in the league on third down, which is great news considering he has been presented with a lot of them.
Add all of that up and you would think offensive coordinator Todd Haley would be putting the ball in his quarterback’s hands more often, but that hasn’t been the case, especially when you look at using the no-huddle, something Roethlisberger has excelled at throughout his career.
They ran a lot of no-huddle offense against the Denver Broncos in the season-opener and had success, but in Week 2 against the Jets, they didn’t use it all. However that hasn’t stopped Roethlisberger from trying.
“That’s coach Haley’s call,” Roethlisberger said of the Jets game (via Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). “He’s the one that calls all of the plays. There was no no-huddle. Our no-huddle is usually when we have three wide receivers on the field. (The coaches) saw something and wanted to run the ball with multiple tight ends and keep (the media) and the fans happy, I guess.”
In addition, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote that Roethlisberger ”appears to be doing everything except hiring a Washington lobbyist” to change Haley’s mind about the no-huddle.
In this case, I have to agree with Big Ben in full.
Roethlisberger using his weapons gives this Steelers team their best chance to win games on a week-to-week basis. If the goal is to win football games, then using your weapons makes the most amount of sense right now. Roethlisberger is just hitting his prime as a quarterback; he has proven that he can carry an offense, but Haley has to let him do it.
Who knows if Haley will break out the no-huddle this week against the Raiders, but I would expect Roethlisberger to throw it quite a bit. Even though Oakland had allowed 147.5 yards per game on the ground, the Steelers offensive line hasn’t proven that they can run block effectively.
Big Ben hasn’t played well in Oakland in the past, but he’s still the guy that gives the Steelers their best chance at winning – with or without a huddle.