There is no one on this planet who cannot see the difference in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense when it comes to the traditional huddle versus the no-huddle. Ben Roethlisberger thrives in the no-huddle and obviously enjoys running it. We’ve been told for two years now that the no-huddle is here to stay in Pittsburgh yet it always seems to be wanting to find its’ way out of town.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley cannot deny the effectiveness of the no-huddle. Sure, it has three and outs but more often than not, when executed properly, it’s going to sustain itself more often than it doesn’t.
The problem is that Haley and perhaps Mike Tomlin do not use it nearly enough and that’s a significant issue for this offense. The arguments as to why the no-huddle isn’t a permanent fixture for this team are many but let me de-bunk a few.
1. The no-huddle means the young defense will be on the field more. This is false because this is the “no-huddle” not the “hurry up” offense. There is a major difference people. No-huddle is exactly like the traditional offense except that instead of huddling, players return to their positions at the line of scrimmage. The goal is to keep the quick snap possible and to keep the defense from substituting.
Time of possession doesn’t have to change at all whether the team huddles or doesn’t.
2. The Steelers aren’t as effective running the ball from the no-huddle. This is also false. The running game should be able to thrive in any form of offense as long as the play is executed properly.
3. The no-huddle limits what plays can be called. This is somewhat true. If the Steelers start a series with three wide receivers, one tight end and a running back then obviously they can’t go into a traditional short yardage offense. Still, there are more than enough formations and plays at Ben Roethlisberger’s disposal. There should always be plays available that will find success versus those that don’t.
If you go back to the comments from Art Rooney II about Big Ben “tweaking his game” and the subsequent hiring of Haley, I believe this factors in as well as to why the Steelers won’t fully commit to the no-huddle. ARII wants to run the ball and take time off the clock. This is not a secret.
It is however causing a problem. In week one against the Browns, Cleveland had marched down the field to pull within 27-10. Rather than going to the no-huddle and being aggressive, the Steelers went with the traditional huddle. They ran it on first and ran it on second and faced third and long before having to punt.
Cleveland again came back down to score. We know how the rest of the game went. Even if Pittsburgh had just gotten a field goal out of that drive it would have been enough to stem the tide of Cleveland.
The Steelers need to make a decision one way or the other on the no-huddle because the Jekyll and Hyde stuff isn’t working. Most coaches believe that you are what you are and right now I don’t know what this offense is.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on Trib-Live Radio
Photo courtesy newpittsburghcourieronline.com