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.