Steelers are hoping to mirror Eagles' full-bore, no-huddle offense
Ben Roethlisberger can't wait to see how the Steelers' no-huddle offense operates road Thursday night in Philadelphia.
He probably will be paying attention to the Eagles, too, because no NFL team is more at home in the no-huddle than coach Chip Kelly's team.
Partly because of Kelly's determination to bring a frenetic pace to the NFL — and also because of the Steelers — the percentage of no-huddle plays in the league nearly doubled from 6.6 percent in 2012 to 12.2 percent last year.
That number is likely to increase this year with teams such as the Browns, Chargers and, yes, the Steelers further embracing the no-huddle. Browns coach Mike Pettine calls it the future of the league.
“It's big for us,” wide receiver Antonio Brown said. “(It's) going to be a key for us this year to get things going fast and catch defenses off-balance and let Ben pick and read his reads, and it gives us the opportunity to play fast.”
Even if not as fast as the Eagles, who ran the no-huddle on 68 percent of their plays last season. Only the Broncos (48 percent) also used it on about half their plays.
But here's the surprise: While all the talk is how the no-huddle is about to become a focal point of the Steelers' offense, that transformation actually took place last season.
After running the no-huddle only 6.5 percent of the time while they started 0-4, the Steelers increased that to about 25 percent the rest of the season. Except for the Eagles and Broncos, only the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills and Chargers ran the no-huddle more last season than the Steelers.
Roethlisberger's passing attempts out of the shotgun also jumped dramatically, from 262 in 2012 to 441.
Now, after further refining the no-huddle during an offseason in which the Steelers worked on it far more than previous springs, Roethlisberger said it's close to becoming a base offense.
“We practice it all the time,” center Maurkice Pouncey said. “When we're in the no-huddle, guys are locked in and communicating at a high level. It's been very, very good for us, and we've got to keep building on it.”
Versus the Bills on Saturday, Roethlisberger and the starters produced 13 points and 210 yards out of the no-huddle in about 1 1⁄2 quarters.
The no-huddle not only allows the offense to push the pace, minimize defensive substitutions and keep a rhythm going, it also gives the offense more plays to work with. The Patriots average 6-7 more snaps per game than they did 10 years ago.
Not everybody in the NFL is a convert. The Super Bowl-winning Seahawks ran only 12 no-huddle plays last season.
Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount played for Kelly at Oregon, and he's not surprised the system is dynamically reshaping how the NFL plays.
“If he's got it rolling, he's not going to stop,” Blount said. “He's going to keep on letting his offense play.
“He gave Shady McCoy a career high in rushing last year, Nick Foles only threw two picks, DeSean Jackson had his best year. The offense, that's what it does for you.”
Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones and the rest of the defensive starters figure to play at least a half against Kelly's no-huddle, which produced 63 points in the Eagles' first two preseason games.
“They run a lot of plays. They get a lot of plays in,” Jones said. “They're snapping the ball, so you can see the referee just running out of the film and (already) the ball's coming out.
“They tried to draw up rules in college football to slow them, with (Alabama) coach (Nick) Saban and everything, and it didn't happen, so coach Chip brought it straight to the NFL.”
Now Todd Haley and Roethlisberger are bringing it to Pittsburgh, and it's quite unlike any offense the Steelers have seen before.
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.
- Steelers quarterback Vick getting more acquainted with offense
- Steelers hoping to establish run early against San Diego
- New-look Steelers secondary is gaining some cohesion
- Steelers QB Roethlisberger not targeting Oct. 25 return
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin not worried about Jones’ lack of sacks
- Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell shrugs off Ravens WR’s comments
- Steelers notebook: Running back Bell OK with play-calling against Ravens
- Steelers’ Bryant returns from drug suspension, ‘won’t happen again’
- Four downs: Williams brothers on the rise
- Nothing normal about Steelers’ standard as backups fill vital roles