Why I Want Todd Haley Out as Steelers Offensive Coordinator: For Professional and Personal Reasons

December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd haley (left) talks with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) on the sidelines against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not sure what position is worse to have right now in Pittsburgh: Pirates General Manager or Steelers Offensive Coordinator. The Steelers’ granted permission to current OC Todd Haley to interview with Arizona for their current head coaching vacancy and needless to say, opinion is torn about whether Steeler Nation wants Haley to stay or go for the betterment of the team. I’m here to say with both professional insight and personal bias that the Steelers will be off if Todd Haley is returns to the desert.

First and foremost is the lack of chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger. Haley’s system is perfect for Antonio Brown, Heath Miller and Emmanuel Sanders who should all remain Ben’s primary weapons. The problem is that if Ben isn’t into the system, then it doesn’t matter who is catching passes. Even in a system that protects Ben with quick passes, he finds ways to get hurt. As this medical perspective shows, if Ben keeps sustaining strains in his shoulder, his performance is going to keep dropping.

Moral of the story: Ben has a limited amount of time left and just lost another season. The team cannot afford to have him potentially spend the next couple of years feeling out a system he isn’t giving 100% to. I do think Roethlisberger is a professional who won’t sabotage winning for a personal stance but it was evident that miscommunication cost the Steelers wins.

Secondly, the handling of the running backs from Haley/Tomlin is enough of a reason to see him go to Arizona without complaint. Remember, he was brought in because his predecessor didn’t run the ball enough, failed in the redzone and had issues in short yardage situations.

Did that significantly change this year? In reality, rushing yardage and efficiency was down this year (1,903 yards 4.4/carry to 1,537 3.7/carry) while TD Red Zone efficiency, which was 18th last season at 50.9%, marginally increased to 55% and 14th in the league.

While Haley and the Steelers were handed a poor hand with injuries, the same could be said of last year’s team. The offensive line is always banged up and the running back rotation led to predictability with the offense. By the way, the success Ariens is having in Indianapolis only makes all of this even more difficult to handle at times.

Thus, I say that Haley gets brushed out on a plane and dons the Cardinals garb again and the Steelers promote Randy Fichtner to Offensive Coordinator. Fitchner is Ben’s quarterbacks coach and works closely with the wide receivers. All of these positions have seen progression under his watch. Furthermore, his experience with schemes goes back to when he was one of the first coaches at the college level to utilize a balanced spread offense.

I have a source close to Fichtner who has told me several times before that he wants the coordinator job very badly. It would be a great internal hire who would fix a lot of issues Haley is leaving. Kirby Wilson is another likely candidate and probably the favorite if Haley leaves which I’m fine with as well.

Bottom line: The Steelers under Haley failed to do anything but make the team worse in some areas and create issues with the one guy on the field the Steelers need to perform consistently. Let’s see if anything happens.

Topics: Pittsburgh Steelers, Todd Haley

Want more from Nice Pick, Cowher?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.
  • TuffTruth

    You all gave Haley 1 year and you fudge all of these reasons why you want him
    gone. some of your points are skewed. This team did not have nearly the same number of injuries this year as last year and as always conveniently forgotten by everyone like you is that Ben was having the best year of his career before he was injured. Take away his 2 game ending INTs & 3 crucial fumbles and we’re in the playoffs, NOT having this debate.

    Haley had NOTHING to do with the accumulation of Ben’s hits. In fact, it is Haley’s system that can extend Ben’s career. Your unbelievable suggestion to turn the ball over to some college style spread offense with more long developing deep passing plays puts Ben back in improvise mode which lengthens plays which is how he has piled up the hits. Every major hit he has taken has been on a pass play taking too long to develop or while he was scrambling around. That’s not an offense. That’s how you play Madden.

    What all of you want is for the Steelers to just throw the ball up and down the field all game, all season long, and forget about the running game and Pittsburgh weather. But a solid running game is how you open up the deep threat and ball control is how you keep your offense on the field. Nothing sucks in safeties like PA… But if all we do is spread the ball, then we’re 1 dimensional. This is the NFL, not college. You don’t win in the NFL being 1 dimensional as K-State found out last night vs Oregon in college play.

    Once your passing game is stopped, then what? Are you so arrogant to think that Big Ben’s passing game is unstoppable? What happens when your on the goal line? Can’t run because you don’t know how. I guess the other team won’t know that huh? Fool ‘em by spreading it out in the red zone. The won’t expect that. What about the 6’8″ 330 lb. linemen we have that are perfect for the running game, but not as adept at the passing game? Start all over and draft a new bunch? More Ben improvising? Just get better? What cold weather team can throw the ball down-field like that all game long? Brady and NE utilizes a ball control, short passing game, not the long one, so don’t go there. Their biggest pass catchers are TEs, Think they’re spreading the field?

    My point is that this is the pros… you need a scheme, a full scheme that includes running, passing, play action, the whole gamut. You need an arsenal of weapons in which to attack your opponents like a chess match. A spread offense? That’s so simplistic that its laughable and we tried that experiment with Tommy Maddox.

    If Ben does what he wants, he’s got 3 years max, IF (God forbid) someone doesn’t end his career with any hit he takes from holding the ball too long and improvising. That is the flaw of the narrow focus of just giving Ben the ball to throw deep. ANY hit, again, God forbid, could be his last. I’d rather have the scheme and a full team, than Ben Roethlisberger because I cheer for the Steelers first, not Big Ben. You better ask somebody, but this is the Pittsburgh Steelers, not the Ben Roethlisberger Steelers… by the way, Ben’s had 3 major injuries the last 3 years. How long is that going to last?

    • Craig

      Ummmm. Did you read the article…. or did you just decide to troll a random site and go off? Who in the wide world of the NFL is putting Ben on a pedestal in this post? 0_o

      • Dom DiTolla

        I actually agree with the sentiment that the Steelers should give “Boss Todd” another chance next year. O-Line was a “casserole of madness” in terms of the shuffling of inexperienced personnel, the “RB by Committee” was a downright joke, Wallace appeared to “check out” after the Giants game, and the WR’s had the “dropsies” all year long. Ben’s complaining did him no favors either.

        This is by no means to say that Haley was perfect, as I believe that he needs to eliminate “Shotgun Fat Back Draw/Dive/Lead play, plus the use of Antonio Brown on a few more deep routes (especially on PA) over the course of the year wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Yet I also agree that Haley’s system actually will extend Big Ben’s career. Ben should be thankful that he isn’t “hung out to dry” as much as he was under Arians, and the quicker passing game with some better Backs/congealed O-Line will do wonders for him.

        If nothing happens in Year 2 with Haley, then by all means “turn up” the heat on his “hot seat.” But heaven forbid Big Ben shuts his trap, trusts the Offensive system, stops making snide remarks via the media/pining for Arians, and just plays. I hope he remembers how “money” he was on 3rd Downs in Haley’s Offense before his injury as well.

        As for the trolling, c’mon Clarence, you made some extremely valid points. If you’re argument was condensed, didn’t include so much vitriol, and wasn’t written in “rant” form, it would have been downright solid man.

        • http://twitter.com/acpregler Andrew Pregler

          I’m not saying it’s great that the Steelers should need a third OC in three years but my thing with Haley is that he obviously is not on the same page with Ben. The O-Line has been a mess for the last several years, even when they went to the Super Bowl. This isn’t anything new and Haley managed to basically get the same production while pissing everyone off doing it. If Ben doesn’t trust Haley’s game plan we’ll see more improvisation which leads to more injuries eventually. I think it’s safe to say Ben’s only got 3 years left or so at full output. Have to cater to him right now.

          • Dom DiTolla

            Well maybe Ben should stop pining for Arians, stop living in the past, and work out his differences with Haley. You know, be the “bigger man” in the situation, not acting like a petulant child and using the media as an outlet for his frustrations.

  • DANGABLE

    Steelers O looked worse than it has in years. Ben doesn’t have many years left and Pitt needs to take advantage while they have him. Chalk up Haley as a mistake and move on with someone new. A lot of people thought he was a poor fit when he was hired and he has done nothing to prove them wrong.

    • http://twitter.com/acpregler Andrew Pregler

      Haley looks like he’s head hunting on the sidelines. He can’t get along with anyone and Ben’s health is fleeting. I don’t think he’s going to have a 100% healthy season. Hence get a guy Ben likes with a balanced scheme and call it a day.

  • disqus_wdLdx4W76r

    As I sit here and watch Rodgers carve up the Vikings I think DAMN..he’s hit 8 different receivers to this point..and NUMEROUS check Downs it amazes me how he’s been sacked 51 times. So somethins not right with Ben and/or this so calld system. And I’m Sooo tired of hearing the injury excuse for the O-Line. Honestly this Offense hasn’t been close to GOOD ever since we lost players like The Bus..Faneca..Hartings..Marvel Smith and Dermonti Dawson. 20 PTs per game wont beat anyone anymore. We haven’t had a run game in over 4 years..Who wins like that? Injuries haven’t dropped multiple balls..Injuries haven’t had multiple fumbles or caused over 16 special teams penalties. So all you Homers start being real with yourselves about this teams Offense..their just not that good..NO excuse

    • http://twitter.com/acpregler Andrew Pregler

      When you have a perfect slot receiver in Brown and a top 5 deep threat in Mike Wallace on the edges the passing game should’ve been there. Drops indiciate mental lapses. Mental lapses all season mean the coaches aren’t getting through to the players. The running backs were handled so poorly this season that by the end, no one wanted to run the ball for fear of fumbling. The offense lacks leadership and Ben’s the guy. If he doesn’t like the OC, which was very apparent, no one will for fear of continuity.

TEAMFeed More Steelers news from the Fansided Network

Hot on the Web From steelers.com