Ben Roethlisberger weighed in on the Steelers offensive coordinator situation, talking to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the departure of Bruce Arians and the arrival of Todd Haley.
Said Roethlisberger of Haley: “I’ve gotten a lot of calls and texts and emails from people around the league, both good and bad about him. Everybody has an opinion, as we all know, and they’re letting me know what their interaction with him was — good, bad and indifferent. I’ve heard a lot of things and I’m looking forward to meeting him and forming my own opinion.”
Among Roethlisberger’s points:
- He wants to know if Haley will run the same offense that evolved through Mike Mularkey to Ken Whisenhunt to Arians, or if Haley will start over.
- He prefers not to start over, primarily for the team’s receivers, a group he called the most talented on the team: “They’re still the tip of the iceberg in this offense and they did as well as they did last year. And they’re just getting to the point that ‘OK, this makes sense to me.’”
- He prefers not to start over, but if the Steelers do “let’s do it.”
- He said he was shocked the team let Arians go, but was kept apprised by Mike Tomlin of the search for a new coordinator.
The Steelers are on kind of/sort of delicate ground here. Roethlisberger and Arians were exceptionally close, and Arians gave Roethlisberger great leeway in play-calling and play-changing. The quarterback did not want the coordinator to go, and he said so late in the season. Now that he has, it’s a new start. Haley comes across as a little more controlling, but he has had success with a running team (led the league with Kansas City in 2010) and with a passing team (did well with Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona).
These things happen with teams; it’s just that with the Steelers it does not happen often. One of Pittsburgh’s great strengths is its continuity.
Haley’s biggest challenge probably won’t even be Roethlisberger or the run/pass ratio that seemed to prompt Art Rooney II to force the change. The Steelers need a lot of help on their offensive front. Any offensive improvement will be based on that group’s improvement.
But melding Haley’s ideas with the Steelers former ways will be important as well. Because Roethlisberger is key to Pittsburgh’s success.