Steelers looking for offensive consistency
The Steelers reach the halfway point of their season in one week, and it still hasn't happened yet.
The Blowup: Todd Haley vs. Ben Roethlisberger.
As the Steelers (3-3) enter their Sunday game at Heinz Field against the Washington Redskins (3-4) and rookie quarterback dynamo Robert Griffin III, Haley's offense has more than begun to emerge. It's all but fully established.
The essence of it: Roethlisberger is getting the ball out faster and more accurately than ever and is getting sacked less. Even with one of the NFL's deepest cast of receivers, he isn't going deep as often as he did when Bruce Arians called the shots.
Now, Haley isn't calling those same shots, and because he isn't, the quarterback might be a little healthier than usual as November approaches.
“That's something that is at the top of the priority list. He's the leader of this team, and we need to make sure that he's protected as much as we can protect him,” Haley said. “Teams know what we're about, and if they're taking away the deep stuff, he's done a great job of finding the guys that are open on each and every pass play.”
Roethlisberger referred to that scheme last week as “dink and dunk,” and immediately some NFL national reporters seized upon the remark as evidence that tension was brewing between a quarterback who likes to gamble and an offensive coordinator who prefers a less-risky, ball-control attack.
“In three years of being a head coach, I've learned to insulate a little bit,” said Haley, the former Chiefs coach. “I get texts and things, but the most important thing to me is what's happening out here and what's happening on Sunday and that we're getting better. Ben is doing a terrific job of leading this offense. The great thing is (if) he can continue to get better along with everybody else, we'll be cooking with gas, so to speak.”
If the Steelers are to light the flame of what has been a hot-and-cold season, Sunday might be the day to do it.
They struggled in the past with mobile quarterbacks who can't be flagged down by a defensive line that is experienced but not very fast, and Griffin is a faster, better-throwing version of Michael Vick.
But here is evidence Roethlisberger could have a big day: The Redskins have 10 interceptions but allow 328.4 yards passing per game, or 51 yards per game more than the Steelers give up rushing and passing combined.
“But I don't look at them as either giving up a big play or the big play possibility being there,” Roethlisberger said. “They are a takeaway machine. They take the ball away and score on defense. To me, that's something I need to keep my eyes on rather than the big play being available.”
Haley couldn't have said it better.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh police break up customer fights over Air Jordan 11 shoes
- Penguins call up prized defensive prospect Pouliot
- Michigan State defensive coordinator a Pitt coaching candidate
- Undersized Beachum quietly excels at 1 of game’s pivotal positions
- Steelers notebook: Polamalu, Taylor unlikely to play, Harrison ‘ready’
- Connellsville teen charged in attack on 80-year-old man, daughter allowed to play high school basketball
- Penguins’ defensive depth proves valuable
- Pitt: Football coach hire comes 1st, athletic director 2nd
- Position move fits Pitt sophomore Artis
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- Penguins notebook: Kunitz ‘really close’ to return