Moving Forward With Todd Haley

Todd Haley could be a front runner in Arizona.Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday when Art Rooney II announced that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was “retiring” and Todd Haley was the new OC?

We are now already two years past that as of this week and what has resulted is nothing short of a soap opera wrapped in a really bad horror movie.

In the last two years the Pittsburgh Steelers have a won-loss record of 16-16 and have missed the playoffs in both seasons. The blame is endless.

Poor offense at times, poor defense at times and poor special teams at times. In some cases, all three combined to make a scene worse than a train wreck.

If you read my stuff or listen to me on the podcasts or on Trib-Live Radio (shameless plugs) then you know I was in favor of Arians moving on. The offense had become one big wide receiver screen and the play-calling had become as predictable as a Mike Tomlin cliché.

I did not however like or approve of how Arians’ dismissal was handled. It was in terribly poor taste and did not reflect well upon the Steelers. It was made worse when Arians eventually became the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts despite being ‘retired.’

You’ll also know that Todd Haley was not my choice as Arians’ replacement. I favored Kirby Wilson and especially quarterbacks Coach Randy Fichtner.

The Haley offense in Kansas City was not what I wanted once he became the man. The running-based offense he ran with the Chiefs was fine for that team but it didn’t fit the personnel of the Steelers when he arrived. The Haley offense from Arizona was much more to my liking. This was a pass-first attack and more often than not out of a three-wide receiver base formation.

Although it has taken a season and a half, the Haley Offense I hoped to see finally arrived and it did so in the form of the no-huddle offense.

Since the season ended, we have learned that several things were going on behind the scenes with the offense. Both Mike Tomlin and Kirby Wilson had more say into the game planning then we knew and we also recognized that Ben Roethlisberger was getting his voice heard as well. The latter was something that didn’t occur much last season.

For those of us who haven’t had a great deal of faith in Haley, this was perhaps welcome news. Maybe it meant the end for him as the offensive coordinator. We now know that isn’t likely to happen. Todd Haley will be here for year three.

I was asked this week if I thought the Steelers should have fired Haley at season’s end and my answer was “no.” I would have seen the move when the team was 2-6 as being a good one but now after the 8-8 season, I don’t think dismissing Haley will really do anything.

Roethlisberger is entering his 11th season and he is on record as saying he wants Haley to stick around. In this case, what Ben wants is what I want. I honestly don’t think Roethlisberger wants to deal with yet another coordinator change at this point in his career.

If he sees that Haley has shown flexibility in his game planning and is on board with running things more in line with what he (Ben) wants than I see why Roethlisberger wants him to stay.

The offseason has just started and there is still time for many, many things to occur. That said, the offense is in better shape than the defense is right now and shaking it up may cause more harm than good.

Do I think the Steelers’ offense would miss Haley? More than likely ‘no’ but at this point why rock the boat unless you’re going in a completely different direction? We have one more year of ‘salary cap hell’ and the defense will likely have several new members so perhaps next season will serve as a clearing house of sorts.

I’m to the point with Todd Haley where he is what he is and there’s nothing I or any other fan can do about it. We don’t have to like it but we do have to live with it.

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 730pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.

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One comment on “Moving Forward With Todd Haley

  1. Obviously we’re all speculating about what goes on behind the scenes. We’re on the same page in a lot of areas. I desperately wanted Arians gone for about 2 years before he was let go… but on a personal level Bruce didn’t deserve the way he was let go.

    I think the Rooneys had good intentions and wanted to save face for Bruce, but it was just unprofessional… Bruce Arians is a grown man and made his way up the ladder in a tough profession, I think he can handle being fired… but I digress.

    The thing that I LIKE about Haley and did from the beginning is his flexibility. I think most coordinators are stubborn, and want THEIR system and THEIR guys. You can see patterns in Haley’s offense but to me it seems like he goes with what he has. If you’ve got Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones you’re running the ball… If you have Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald you’re throwing the ball.

    Maybe Haley was stripped of duties this season, and everything that happened positively was in spite of him… but I think he showed flexibility in going to the no huddle. Maybe he was forced… but this isn’t the first time this issue has come up.

    Under Bruce Arians the offense would struggle for 28 minutes only to move down the field in the 2 min drill to end the half with a score… And Bruce would turn up his nose and laugh at fans that cried for more no huddle.

    As with anything else I’m sure there’s a number of factors, but I think Todd is a little bit more than a doofus with clipboard 🙂

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