Steelers Today - A Pittsburgh Steelers blog


Haley is Steelers’ new offensive coordinator

February 06, 2012 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

While the team has not yet confirmed the reports, several sources, including ESPN and the NFL Network are reporting that former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley has been offered the job as the Steelers’ new offensive coordinator.

The Steelers were seeking an offensive coordinator following the team’s firing (at the time called a “retirement”) of Bruce Arians.  Arians promptly unretired, and accepted a position as offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts.

The prevailing wisdom was that the Steelers were going to promote from within.  Running backs coach Kirby Wilson, and quarterback coach Randy Fichtner were considered to be the most likely candidates.

When the Steelers started bringing in outsiders to interview for the position, most thought that it was just a symbolic gesture.  Haley’s interview in particular was seen as a courtesy gesture to honor the fact that his father, Dick Haley, was the former director of player personnel who helped build the championship teams of the 70′s.  Haley was seen as an abrasive personality who wouldn’t fit in well with the Steelers.

But we should all know by now that trying to guess what the Steelers are going to do is a losing venture.  As an example, everyone was sure that the Steelers were going to hire either Ken Whisenhunt or Russ Grimm to replace Bill Cowher.  Instead, they hired Mike Tomlin.

It will be interesting to hear Ben Roethlisberger’s thoughts on the hiring.  Roethlisberger wasn’t happy when Arians was fired, and he has made his unhappiness known.  Some thought that the Steelers might promote Fichtner in order to give Ben a sense of continuity.

The Steelers organization has yet to confirm the hiring.  Moreover, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has not reported the story either.  So there is a slight chance that the story may prove to be untrue.  However, we thought it best to make our readers aware of the reports.

Bruce Arians stars in strange Steelers win

November 17, 2008 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

Before reading this article, please read our Steelers-Chargers post-game analysis found here.

This website has been critical of Steelers’ Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians for most of the season. In our opinion, Arians has failed to make in-game adjustments to counter the constant blitz schemes that the Steelers have faced. As team after team followed the same script when playing the Steelers, Arians seemed to stubbornly refuse to implement the quick passes that are the obvious counter-attack to constant blitzing. In the game earlier this year against the Philadelphia Eagles, Arians didn’t implement this strategy even after the Eagles’ 50th blitz and sack of Ben Roethlisberger (I believe the Eagles sacked Roethlisberger 700 times during that game, but I could be mistaken). We, along with most Steelers fans, were shocked when the Steelers came out in the second half of that game, and showed no sign of offensive adjustments of any type.

With this as background, we felt compelled to give Arians kudos for a job well done. In the Steelers’ odd 11-10 win over the San Diego Chargers, it was really Bruce Arians who was the hero of the game.

Some fans may ask, “how was Arians the hero of a game in which Ben Roethlisberger passed for 308 yards, Willie Parker ran for 115 yards, and Hines Ward had 124 yards receiving”? Well, the answer is simple. Bruce Arians called a nearly perfect game, and he is the reason that each of the above players had the exceptional performance that they did.

In the passing game, Arians had Roethlisberger executing the quick slant pass as effectively as I’ve seen any quarterback execute it. It is that particular play that is the bread and butter play for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. In fact, the Patriots use that play as a defacto running game.

Rothlisberger repeatedly got rid of the ball quickly in the face of a Chargers’ blitz. Usually, the recipient of those quick passes were Santonio Holmes or Matt Spaeth. In fact, it was this strategy which was responsible for Spaeth catching 6 passes during the game. Steelers Today has always believed that Arians under-utilizes the tight end, we were pleasantly surprised to see Spaeth play such an active role in the offense.

Arians called a diverse game that resulted in Big Ben completing passes to 7 different receivers. That is a very rare statistic for the Steelers offense.

Besides calling a brilliant passing game, Arians also used the running game to eat up the clock and to wear down the Chargers’ defense. Willie Parker’s 115 yards, and the Steelers 36:31minute - 23:29 minute time of possession advantage, is proof of this fact.

Arians also showed a willingness to keep experimenting until he found something that worked. Early in the game, he had Willie Parker attempt to gain short yardage, only to watch him get stuffed. Mewelde Moore met with the same fate. So Arians gave little-used running back Gary Russell an opportunity on third down. Not only did Russell gain the needed yardage, but when called upon to do it again later in the game, Russell did it again. By showing flexibility, Arians may have found a new third down back. Moreover, he has found a way to give valuable playing time to a back who has shown potential, but has been given few chances to prove himself.

The Steelers offense failed to get into the endzone. But that does not mean that they weren’t dominant. Bruce Arians called a near-perfect game, and the offense dominated the Chargers to a much greater degree than was reflected on the scoreboard.

Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker, Hines Ward, Matt Spaeth, Troy Polamalu, and James Harrison all had excellent games on Sunday. But in our opinion, the game ball for this win goes to Bruce Arians. Way to go, Bruce!

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