What Then If Steelers Fire Haley?

Todd Haley could be a front runner in Arizona.

There has been a lot of speculation over the last few days as to whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers would break from their long-held custom of not relieving a coach of his duties in-season and remove Todd Haley as the offensive coordinator.

If you read my stuff regularly, you know I’m not a Haley fan. While I wanted a change from Bruce Arians,

Haley was not the guy that I would have chosen. Be that as it may, the offense has been an overwhelming failure dating back to the middle of last season.

I had a good conversation with fellow Steelers’ guru @SteelerBill13 which prompted my thinking and the writing of this article so props to him.

We can argue personnel and play-calling until the cows come home, but the offense currently ranks 28th and Ben Roethlisberger is hit more than a piñata at a kid’s birthday party. He also has just one victory since his return from injury last season.

Let’s assume the Rooney’s make the rare decision to take Haley out as the OC. What would follow is something like this and you need to decide as a Steelers’ fan if this is what you’d want.

First, I would have to believe running backs coach Kirby Wilson would take over as the play-caller. He knows the personnel and has a good working relationship with Roethlisberger and the skill position people.

Secondly, the Rooney’s would more than likely put some form of ‘condition’ on the offense for the rest of the season. In other words, they would tell the offense “this is what you wanted; now show us this was the right move.”

What success would need to be achieved in order to satisfy the ownership? Would it be based on wins or offensive success or maybe a combination of both? Either way, it could be rather subjective.

Whatever was decided, this could open a Pandora’s Box of issues for players ranging from Ben Roethlisberger to Emmanuel Sanders and could seriously impact the futures of Mike Tomlin and certainly Kirby Wilson.

Popular thinking would be that Wilson would return the team to a more vertical passing game which is what Roethlisberger and the receiving corps would appear to embrace. If they showed no signs of improvement, what’s the next step?

Likely a total overhaul of the offense once again in 2014 is what would occur. Is this something Steeler fans want to go through again especially with an even more veteran quarterback?

I’m not trying to sound like a Haley apologist by any means, but would his firing cure all that ails the Steelers or create more problems? The situation is a fluid one and could have ramifications not only in the immediate future but also down the road as well.

This is very likely to be a moot point because I don’t see it happening. I surveyed 15 Steelers’ journalists, bloggers and commenters on whether the Steelers would make this move during the bye week.  Ten of those surveyed said ‘no’ but I was really surprised to see five say ‘yes’ the move is imminent.

These are five individuals who know the Steelers extremely well so I was taken aback by their thoughts. Whether or not they turn out correct will not be known until after the Minnesota game so we can all breathe easy for now.

In the end, we still must ask ourselves is getting rid of Haley in the mid-season the right thing to do?

Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.


Be Sociable, Share!

10 comments on “What Then If Steelers Fire Haley?

  1. It is mindless prattle like this being spewed by apologists and uninformed members of the idiocracy that ensure the continuation of the Steelers downward spiral into the depths of the 7th level of the Rooneys NFL inferno. Go write articles for the Browns and Raiders. They love the status quo and mea culpa relative to poor decision making. We are all dumber for having read this article. May God have mercy on your soul.


    • Don, thanks for reading my prattle and thanks for using such a great line from Billy Madison. I am honored…. My article offers insight into what might happen should the Rooneys break the status quo and fire Haley during the bye week. I’m not saying they should or shouldn’t. I am merely adding commentary to the situation. And you’re right by the way… I should go write for the Raiders and Browns. At least they have a win on the season right?

  2. Don your a typical moron spewing your ignorance and vial just to hear yourself talking. I have dealt with people like yourself in business and I can eat them for lunch. I usually let them self implode. Believe me son, the people around you are either losers themselves and believe that because someone is loud and rude, they must know what they are talking about or they are like me and let you show your ignorance and profit by your arrogance,

    Now on another note, Marc I am not a Haley fan either, but understand that the Steeler situation is mired by many OL issues. I do not know all the issues but believe that we have 3/5 OL men that are way below the line physically and mentally. Pouncy was horrible in Preseason…..was it because of our other linemen not doing their job? Adams looked horrible forever. DeCastro looks weak every other play etc etc None of these guys can pass protect. How can these guys look so bad? Is it our OL coach? I mean REALLY. Is it that our scouting staff really screwed up and these guy just suck> Is it their off season work that is lacking?

    Everything else is a byproduct of the above mentioned. Turnovers like interceptions and fumbles with Ben are a direct result of piss poor pass blocking. Adams and DeCastro look like they are wearing cement shoes. The defense just runs right by them. God forbid they see another LB looping back around. Hell I saw DeCastro’s block on Pouncy…..OMG…he had his head down the entire play and simply wiffed his block. Linemen are taught from PeeWee league to keep their head up and continue through the block. I am soooo frustrated with our OL because they are sooooooooo inept. How can this happen? These guys look like they would only be starters in College and nothing more and God forbid not even make any other team in the NFL…..How did we get them all. Please know I am very aware that if 1 out 5 lineman gets beat they all look bad , but 2-3 lineman are getting beat at the same time. Is it coaching? Is it that these guys do not have the “it” factor…..Are they that slow? Are they that dumb? Are they out muscled ? How hard is it to have your head on a swivel and look for other blitzers?
    I believe everything stems from our OL. Right now I simply believe that the saying ” Ya can’t fix stupid” is appropriate for now. These guys simply could not play worse.

    Play calling is also a byproduct of our inept OL. How many different plays can you call without the basics? Think about it. I have been watching Steeler football for 40+ years and I now have a very new appreciation for our OL in the years past. These guys should be truly embarrassed.

    In closing, I believe changing coaches will not help, but also understand why they would do it. Wish it were that easy to fire the guys on the OL. These guys should be embarrassed to cash their paychecks.

    • Thanks for reading Craig. You are echoing the sentiments of many Steeler fans surrounding the subject of Todd Haley. Because he wasn’t my guy, I sometimes come across as an ‘Anti-Haley’ person and I guess I probably am but I also recognize exactly what you are pointing out. This OL is incapable of doing anything consistently so that has to hinder what Haley can do.

      There are many fans who recognize this but sadly, there are also many who are ‘fans’ yet don’t really understand the game and how intricate it can be. I’m not knocking those fans, but many of them are the ones calling for Haley’s firing without really understanding everything at play.

    • Craig, I couldnt agree with you more. I cant believe how bad the OL has been for years now! Even when they went to their last 2 SB’s, they were giving up sacks on a regular. It doesnt matter who is calling the plays, if you cant block the play wont have a chance. Our tackles are the worse i’ve seen.

  3. Several worthy OC out there. What about Mike Martz? How about Jon Gruden, Childress, Mariucci, etc.
    These are all offensive minded coaches that would fit the Steeler players and Roethlesberger’s ability. Heck Herm Edwards and Tony Dungy are still out there.
    Anything to get the ball down the field instead of throw short left, throw short right, run up the middle, and punt. Haley’s quick short throws to protect the QB ain’t working folks.

  4. 1. Its starts with ownership, which is now weakened by the influx of new ownership, 2. Head coach is a position coach 3. Wilson would not work, He cant coach up the running backs, 4. Haley, fire, he didn’t make it anywhere else, enough 5. OL coach gone, Michael Turner would help our run game and he is available , as far as the Online I agree they are young and average, Ben needs to get rid of ball faster with-in 3 seconds , This team has a lot of new guys fresh out of college, they need encouragement and a strong leadership group! Our wide receivers are suspect, send sanders to new England its time to focus on Steeler ball, oh by the way Ben threw for 400 yards, this team is improving, can we support them ,

  5. Its a combination of things… the offensive line is going to need to time to gel, especially with the Pouncey injury. Its not like they’re going to get better overnight. Throw in the fact that they are all quite young as well, then they will need to time to get better – I think as the season moves along it will slowly improve.

    The question of whether or not to fire Haley really shouldn’t be a question at all. I think there has been some questionable play calling, this being best exemplified with the end around to 31 year-old Cotchery. The play-calling at times has also been extremely predictable, how many times has the offense ran three straight runs to the line of scrimmage? Or how many times has the offense had a third and long this season alone? Its these types of things that really show how large the contrast between Haley’s play calling and the personnel that he has exists.

    The question becomes one of who is at fault? Is it the personnel or Haley’s play-calling? Personally, I think they should strip Haley of his play-calling and retain him as offensive coordinator. Give the responsibility to someone who isn’t at the helm of the offense. Then Haley can work to improve the personnel they have. How many times has a running back made a bad read and just left yards on the field? Too many, they are losing those little things that really separate that bad teams from the good.

    Nonetheless, my opinion is the matter of my own thought and will have nothing to do with whatever course of action the Steelers do choose to take. Whatever choice they choose to do, I have full faith in their ability to make the correct decision.


  6. Is the coaching that bad? Well the answer is you better believe it. Instead of bringing in a coach that was willing to coach an offense around around the strengths of the players.They brought in a coach who wanted to reform the Steeler offense and run his plays despite the fact that we didn’t have the personnel to do it. I think his main problem is his play calling, Ben isn’t a get the ball out quick QB and he probably never will be. First let me address the bubble screen currently our WR’s biggest weakness is blocking but he insist on running this play 8-12 times a game. Then we have this draw play that we have run forever and it hasn’t worked since Willy Parker use to bounce it outside for big gains, he runs this play about 14 times a game. so over 30% of his offense is taking up on 2 plays that don’t work. So for a year and a half we have had to sit back and watch. For this reason only he should be fired. Then you have no hurry up offense, no changing plays at the line, and one of his best plays is the one where he sends 5 receivers out and they all do a 5 yard button hook on 3rd and 9. He is an idiot letting him go would be like taking out the garbage.

    • It’s a great Bob and one we’ve discussed many times. Todd Haley has proven he can run an effective offense but the problem here is that the personnel just doesn’t match what he wants to do. Throw in the issues with the OL, injuries to running backs and there ya go. It’s been frustrating for us so I can only imagine how it must be for Haley.

Leave a Reply