Sep 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley talks with tight end David Paulson (81) during the game against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers: Why offensive coordinator Todd Haley should return in 2014


Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley has been the whipping boy for most fans over the past two seasons, and while it looked for a while like Haley wouldn’t return for a third season, I will make the case that he has earned the opportunity to come back.

Sure there is a good possibility that the Steelers will miss out of the postseason in both of Haley’s seasons, but the numbers suggest that the offense is operating quite fine under Haley’s tutelage.

Sep 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley reacts on the sidelines against the Tennessee Titans during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Tennessee Titans won 16-9. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

You need to look no further than franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for proof.

Sure Big Ben’s season started in horrific fashion and there have been the usual reports of discontent between Roethlisberger and Haley, but look through all of that and Roethlisberger is putting together possibly one of his best statistical seasons of his 10-year NFL career.

Despite only seven wins at this point of the season, Roethlisberger has been busy re-writing the Steelers record books.

Roethlisberger already has set the team record for most completions in a season and with at least 247 yards passing Sunday afternoon against the Cleveland Browns, he will set a team record for most passing yards in a season. Big Ben has thrown for 4,082 yards in 15 games and is looking to break the record he set in 2009 when he threw for 4,328.

He also has an outside chance to break the team record for most touchdowns passes in a season. He has 27, third-most he has thrown in a season. He set the record with 32 in 2007.

Those numbers would suggest that things are just fine with Haley at the helm of the Steelers offense.

So would the season that Antonio Brown has put up.

Brown has 1,412 receiving yards, breaking the single-season yardage mark held by Yancey Thigpen last week, and needs 12 receptions against the Browns to break the record for most in a season held by Hines Ward with 112.

He is doing just fine with Haley calling plays, and so is rookie running back Le’Veon Bell.

Bell, just named the Steelers’ top first-year player by local media members, has a chance to set the team record for most yards from scrimmage by a rookie. Things started slowly for the Steelers this year, but once Haley was willing to turn more control over to Roethlisberger, this offense took off.

Once they started using the no-huddle more frequently, the Steelers have averaged almost 30 points per game over the past eight games, and Roethlisberger and his teammates are posting some big numbers in the process.

Because of the willingness to use the no-huddle, the sack numbers have gone down as well. Roethlisberger has been sacked just 10 times in the past seven games after getting dropped 31 times in the first eight.

Add all of that up and the problem isn’t Haley.

The Steelers offense is just fine and with a couple tweaks in the offseason, most notably another playmaker and additions to the offensive line, they could do even bigger things under Haley in 2014.

The reasons the Steelers could miss the playoffs again this season have been mostly on the other side of the ball. This offense has been plenty good enough to get the Steelers into the playoffs and Haley should be rewarded by being retained in 2014.

Things are working and there is no point on starting over. If it’s not broken you don’t fix it.

While it will irritate a lot of Steelers fans, that means keeping Haley.

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Tags: Ben Roethlisberger Featured Pittsburgh Steelers Popular Todd Haley

  • Carl Eagan

    Most of the bandwagon fans who think Haley should be fired are just followers hacks at the post gazette claim unrest and the followers believe. First it was Brown in a screaming match with Haley on the sidelines when the reality is from both of them and replays that Brown did go to Haley and told him what he saw and recommended plays which most good players do. Then the ongoing saga of Ben not getting along with Haley simply because the hack at the PG don’t like Haley they make things up. What the bandwagon fans forget is that it is Tomlin not Haley who doesn’t like the no-huddle and he is on record as far back as 2008 sayng he doesn’t like it and remember Tomlin does claim to be involved with all aspects of the game plan. Then there is the offensive line of course injuries, learning a new system they don’t use and poor choices by Tomlin at both tackle positions hurt the offense. Then there is a receivers coach brought in by Tomlin after being out of football for years because no real NFL coach wanted him who hasn’t done much in helping to develop Wheaton, Moyer and the rest despite the fact that is his job. Then the soft zone coupled with Tomlin’s failed version of the Tampa two doesn’t protect leads. So the problem with the Steeler’s isn’t Haley and never has been.

    • Matt Gajtka

      Good point on the Tomlin/no-huddle thing. I think most fans attack the OC because it’s the most obvious target…high enough up the food chain to feel like a real statement but not as drastic as saying the head coach needs to go.

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