Being the offensive coordinator of a football team is essentially the exact opposite of being the back-up quarterback. Everyone loves the back-up QB because nine times out of ten they think the back-up can do better than the starter.
For the offensive coordinator however, there is little if any love. In fact, there is probably no love at all and instead we measure our approval of this position in different levels of hatred. Ladies and gentlemen of Steeler Nation, I give you Todd Haley.
I don’t care for Haley and this is not a secret but he is the current offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh and there isn’t a darn thing I can do about that. What I have to be when it comes to Haley is honest. If I can rip him then I need to praise him when necessary.
To say that Haley wasn’t involved with the offensive explosion on Sunday wouldn’t be fair. Did he have everything to do with it? Not at all, but he deserves some credit.
The real challenge now for Haley is being able to sustain what his offense started. It’s no secret he was brought to Pittsburgh to “tweak” Ben Roethlisberger’s game, keep him healthy and re-establish the running game but sometimes you have to realize what works even when it isn’t exactly working how you wanted it to.
Haley has to recognize by now like many of us have that having Matt Spaeth and Will Johnson on the field individually or at the same time just isn’t productive. While I understand there are always situations that one or both are needed, the Steelers have proved time and time again that this offense does better when they aren’t part of the general gameplan.
So here we are with the hated Baltimore Ravens coming to town for what amounts to a very, very important game. A loss puts the Steelers at 1-3 in the AFC North and 0-2 against the Ravens giving them the tie-breaker. A win evens their division record with the final two divisional games against Cincinnati in the final four weeks of the season.
If we learned anything on Sunday it’s that this team will only go as far as the offense can take it. Yes, Andrew Luck and the Colts are no ordinary offense but the fact remains the defense just can’t be relied on each week. They continue to give up too many big plays and the consistency just ins’t there.
Therefore, Todd Haley has to see the forest through the trees and realize what works for the offense. While the addition of Martavis Bryant is a significant part of the offensive and red zone resurgence, Haley has to be ready for what defenses may do limit Bryant’s effectiveness.
Going back to two and three tight end formations is not the answer to the questions that Haley will face in the final half of the season.
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 game day on the Trib-Live Radio Steelers Pre-Game