Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley has been voted over the years as one of the most hated coaches by players, media outlets and fans. As you might remember, Haley didn’t exactly get the warmest of welcomes into Pittsburgh. The Steelers franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger campaigned publicly for Bruce Arians’ job security after the 2009 season, and didn’t take the news well when Arians was released after the 2011 season. So, when Haley was brought in by the team to replace Arians, the move happened under controversial circumstances.
Haley is a straight shooter, there is no gray area with him and at times wears his emotions on his sleeves. It doesn’t come as a surprise that the passionate coach has found himself engulfed in conflict with players over the years. Two months ago, a mass number of Steelers fans and media outlets were calling for Haley’s head, solely blaming him for the Steelers inadequacies on offense. Fast forward to today, one would think that the Steelers can’t afford not to bring back Haley for a third season in 2014.
Now before the explosion of negative comments, consider these facts. Eight snaps into the season, the Steelers lost their pro-bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. Present day, the Steelers are running their offense with their third center in Cody Wallace. The Steelers have started six different offensive line combinations in 2013. Through all of the injuries, the offense has been fun to watch over the last month and has improved tremendously in 2013.
Heath Miller, coming off his ACL surgery, is regaining his form and becoming the security blanket for Roethlisberger. Miller will be 100 percent ready to go in 2014. Even in a slow start to the season, Le’Veon Bell has shown signs of being a complete back in the NFL. Bell continues to show his versatility as a dual threat rushing for 700 yards behind a makeshift offensive line and just under 400 yards receiving. Antonio Brown needs no introduction, as he has become one of the league’s most dangerous weapons in 2013. Earlier in the year, Brown and Haley were seen exchanging words on the sidelines. Under Haley’s scheme, Brown is having a career year, and has become one of the most respected players in the NFL.
The offensive line will return to full strength in 2014. As previously mentioned, after losing two centers, two left tackles and a right guard, the production in the passing attack and running game were going to decline in 2013. However, the continuity in the Steelers offensive scheme continues to grow week after week. The Steelers have scored 20 or more points in the past seven games. Furthermore, the offense is averaging 28 points per game in the past seven games after averaging just under 18 points per game in the first seven.
Last but not least, Big Ben has been involved in rumors all year on his relationship with Haley. The simple fact is that Roethlisberger has performed better under Haley’s offensive scheme than any other offensive coordinator in Roethlisberger’s tenure.
“I think production has gone up and I think that the mistakes have really come down,” Roethlisberger said to reporters. “I think guys enjoy doing it. I’m sure if you ask the receivers they say they like it. Le’Veon [Bell] likes it, mixing in the run and the pass so it’s not just pass-heavy.”
Big Ben has never looked this comfortable, poised, and in command when running the Steelers’ no-huddle offense. Brown is having a career year, Cotchery leads the team in touchdowns and Bell continues to his journey as becoming a feature back in the NFL. On Sunday, he rushed for 124 yards against the Packers.
With the offense clicking, Roethlisberger and Haley on the same page, Haley could be returning to the Steelers in 2014.