Will Todd Haley survive Black Monday?

Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley looks on against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

For teams like the Texans, Redskins, Vikings and Raiders , the 2013 season cannot end soon enough. For the Houston Texans especially, 2013 was a bitter year. Coming into the season they had high hopes, Super Bowl aspirations and yet they sit at the bottom of the league at 2-13. Head coach Gary Kubiak has already been fired and the team has been interviewing potential candidates (Wade Phillips??? really??) In addition to those listed above, roughly 3-4 other teams will be closing out the season on a sour note which will end in firing their head coaches and looking for new ones come Monday. The Monday after the regular season has been dubbed “black Monday” in recent years and speculation about who is to be fired and who is a candidate to be hired is fodder for those who cover the NFL as well as fans.

In addition to head coaches getting the axe, more times than not their entire staff gets a pink slip as well. Some teams may opt to keep their head men and instead fire co-ordinators or assistant coaches in order to inject some new philosophies into their team.

When Todd Haley was hired to replace the popular Bruce Arians, it was felt that Haley would bring more balance to the Steelers offensive attack and that QB Ben Roehtlisberger would benefit the most. After two years, the results are mixed which leads to the question of whether or not Haley will be let go or not.

First off, being the franchise they are, I don’t see them making any changes in the coaching staff come Monday, especially if they can sneak into the playoffs. However, after assessing Haley’s job, the Steeler brass may see a need to let Haley go and find someone new who can bring balance. Now to be fair to Haley, the offensive line woes that have plagued the Steelers long before he arrived are not his fault. Losing Mike Wallace to free agency and not having Heath Miller for the entire season are also not on him.  On the plus side, Antonio Brown had a career year and was deservedly voted team MVP. Roethlisberger has managed to stay healthy all year and has a completion percentage of 64.4, and rookie Le’veon Bell has proven to be a nice receiver out of the backfield, catching 44 passes. Jerricho Cotchery leads the team with nine TD catches in what has been his best year as a pro.

Going against Haley is his shaky relationship with Ben that many people were expecting would happen when he replaced Arians. Thus far the Steelers have only managed to amass 1,263 rushing yards for a 3.5 average. They are currently 16th in the league in total offense, not a dramatic improvement from last year and down from Arians’ last year. They average 5.3 yards a play from scrimmage which isn’t as bad a number as one may think, it’s only a yard less than what the Denver Broncos average. However, the balance just isn’t there and despite Brown’s gaudy numbers, the deep passing game has all but disappeared at times, the longest pass play all year was 56 yards by Brown. On top of it all was the team’s sluggish starts on offense that plagued them in many games as was the rather unimaginative play calling at other times.

So what are we to make of Haley? First it would not shock me at all to see him retained for next year, after all the Steelers are loathe to change. And while Ben’s completion % has increased slightly under Haley, the vertical game isn’t what it was, nor can the team pound it on the ground with any consistency. I think Haley should go, but as I said it wouldn’t shock me to see him stay.

I want to know what you fans think: in a word does he deserve to stay or go?

follow me on twitter @scott8871

Topics: Pittsburgh Steelers, Todd Haley

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  • Joe Longo

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you. question; who do you replace him with?

    • Dom DiTolla

      Randy Fichtner, quarterbacks coach. Big Ben, Arians and him were chums when Fichtner was the WR coach, he likes a more spread out offense and has the necessary experience to make him a solid choice.

      Of course, the Rooneys would never admit that they were wrong and fire their golden child in the form of Haley. Thus, his firing and the hiring of Fichtner is only a dream.

      • Thumper833

        Tight Ends can block in pass pro. Wheaton and Moye cannot block. I think Spaeth’s return is a big reason why Ben was so clean the last several games. Anyway, I don’t think Haley is the best guy out there, but at this point I think he is good enough to outweigh the disruption caused by changing coordinators again. You know more than I do so maybe you’re right, but that’s the way I see it.

        • Dominic Di Tolla

          Inserting those guys into the lineup takes away eligible receivers & targets for Big Ben. While they are needed to chip, the amounts of plays they are on the field when compared to Wheaton & Moye is a joke. That’s my main concern. Not the fact the extra TEs are use, just the amount they are.

        • Dom DiTolla

          Inserting those guys into the lineup takes away eligible receivers &
          targets for Big Ben. While they are needed to chip, the amounts of
          plays they are on the field when compared to Wheaton & Moye is a
          joke. That’s my main concern. Not the fact the extra TEs are use, just
          the amount they are used.

  • Thumper833

    Personally I think that the offense is good enough to win and that Haley and Ben are actually becoming quite cozy. They still need some help on the O_Line, but the real questions for this team are on the defensive side of the ball…

    • scott sinclair

      fair enough

      • Dom DiTolla

        If you guys are fine with formations which employ useless tight ends (Spaeth, Paulson, Palmer, etc.) over actual athletic play-makers (Wheaton, Moye, etc.) who can make the offense more explosive in an overall quest to achieve unnecessary ‘balance,’ then that’s fine.

        I just hope that you’re ok with this team missing the postseason every year Haley is here.

        • bonairsfavoriteson


          • CaptainAge

            Haley should come back next year, the offense wasn’t the reason the Steelers missed the playoffs. I think there is a lot unfounded “Haley hating”. Haley doesn’t throw untimely interceptions, Haley doesn’t hold onto the ball too long, Haley doesn’t cause untimely fumbles, and Haley doesn’t drop passes.

            Does he make some questionable calls absolutely, all OC’s do – if the team was 12-4 everyone would be praising Haley for doing such a great job of keeping the sacks down over the last 7-8 weeks. Unfortunately they are 8-8 and watching the playoffs for a second season, and fans need a scapegoat. Haley apparently is that guy, and to Marcus Gilbert it was Succop for “shaving points” at the end of the Chiefs game.

            The Steelers scored more than enough points on offense. The real culprit for missing the playoffs this year lies squarely on the shoulders of the defense. Yet I hear very few asking for LeBeau’s head on a platter. Oh, there are some that make the odd comment here and there – but in general LeBeau gets a free pass – because he’s 76 years old and he’s been in the league for 55 years as a player and coach and the players revere him. Remember the Pryor 93 yard TD run, the
            shellacking by the Patriots, the Dolphins game to name a few? The ‘D’ had
            to deal with some adversity this year without a doubt – looking back on the
            season it may be Foote’s injury that was the most devastating. Saying
            that, I don’t see people giving LeBeau the same heat Haley gets when he has a
            revolving door of offensive linemen playing week in and week out.

            I can also say, after watching the last 9 weeks unfold – the team isn’t that far away from being a contender. There are some tweeks that need to be made on the ‘D’ side – but nothing the draft shouldn’t solve. I would like to see what Keith Butler could bring as the ‘D’ Coordinator though – it’s his time IMO.

          • Craig

            This team will never be 12-4 with Todd Haley as the OC.

          • Miguel

            You can bet on that!

  • dionne

    I would love to see Hines Ward for offensive coordinator. Haley must go.

  • jessewv

    I would say Fire Haley, Unimaginative play calling is an understatement. I’m pretty certain an 8 year old could beat him with an Xbox controller