If Ben Roethlisberger can stand before the media and take the blame for a loss that clearly was not all on him then so can I. I can admit when I’m wrong and I owe many people an apology although I’m not going as far as some of you think.
I was tired of Bruce Arians’ offense. I was tired of bubble screens and seeing Roethlisberger on his back more than Joan Rivers awaiting another plastic surgery. I was tired of seeing the red zone failures and poor play-design and I was ready for change.
While Todd Haley would not have been my personal choice for the new offensive coordinator, I tried to be positive and I kept envisioning the Arizona Cardinals’ offense he ran when getting them to Super Bowl XLIII. What I didn’t think I’d see was the run-heavy offense he installed as head coach of Kansas City because that team was already built for that, this one wasn’t.
In watching the Steelers lose to Dallas yesterday I couldn’t help but notice the aggravation on the face of Ben Roethlisberger. Normally he’s very level-headed and has a calm demeanor but I started to sense some issues with the play-calling and it obviously spilled over during his post-game comments when he clearly stated he wasn’t happy about it.
The QB vs OC confrontation many thought was coming has arrived and quite frankly, I’m not sure it’s all on Haley.
Early in the third quarter the Steelers had a new series underway at mid-field. After two runs and a short pass that fell woefully incomplete, I couldn’t help but think there was something else at play here. Todd Haley is not an idiot, at least I don’t think he is, but after that series and then another where on third down he had one wide receiver in the game, I’m still not so sure.
When you get the ball at mid-field, you attack. You don’t get conservative and get cute. You must advance the ball and at the very least, get three points out of it. After that pathetic drive ended I couldn’t help but think of Art Rooney II’s comments about Ben ‘tweaking his game’ and for the offense to run the ball better. Perhaps some of my loyal readers were correct, this wasn’t the real Todd Haley, it was a guy being forced to put the restrictor plate on a faster-than-lightning machine.
Another explanation I need is how in the hell do you completely ignore Heath Miller in the second half? The guy was an absolute beast in the first 30 minutes and then didn’t see another ball come his way until the late fourth quarter. That my friends, is coaching, or lack thereof.
I also seem to remember being told that the no-huddle offense would remain a staple of this offense. Guess we were duped on that too. When the team finally went to it yesterday, it looked good and the offense picked up some rhythm but alas, we haven’t seen nearly enough of it.
Basically, I apologize not to Bruce Arians, but to the Steeler Nation in general because I really thought Todd Haley could take this team to another level, not backwards to the 1970’s. How much Haley is really at fault here will probably never truly be known but what we do know is that we are wasting the talents of an all-pro quarterback and tight end who are not getting any younger.
Shame on Haley and the ‘powers that be’ for blowing so many great opportunities in 2012. Let’s just hope that this ship is on a different course in 2013 or I fear I’ll be apologizing again.
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.