Todd Haley has come under fire recently for the underwhelming performance of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense. He argued with Mike Tomlin about whether or not to go for a two-point conversion in Sunday’s win over the Indianapolis Colts, and many have begun to speculate that he is on the way out after the season. There’s always some new reason to criticize Haley, and the latest has come from the players themselves.
According to Ray Fittipaldo of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, many Steelers players want to run more no-huddle offense. Pittsburgh averaged over eight yards per last week out of no-huddle plays, which fell to below five on plays in which the offense huddled. Ben Roethlisberger has been vocal about wanting more no-huddle situations in the offense.
“It’s actually easier because that’s something that’s been in since Day 1,” Roethlisberger said. “So rather than install a bunch of new plays you go with what you know and have been doing for a long time.”
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JuJu Smith-Schuster echoed the sentiment, but will roll with whatever the team decides to do.
“Once we get on a roll downfield, I think when Ben calls his plays, he knows the defense and knows what to expect,” rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said. “I don’t mind when he has the ball in his hands.”
“For me, yeah it’s a lot different,” Smith-Schuster said. “In college, all I had was [hand] signals. I’ve really focused on learning the plays from Big Ben and hearing the play calls. It’s a lot different for me because I’m playing all types of positions. But it makes the game more fun.”
Haley’s system has not worked this season. That much is obvious. Something needs to change if the Steelers are going to score enough points in the playoffs to win the Super Bowl, even if the defense is the best in the league. If the players want more no-huddle and it has produced tangible results, it might behoove the team to run more of it.
Otherwise, the offense is in danger of becoming stagnant. Defenses know what to expect. Double digit targets for Antonio Brown. Plenty of carries for Le’Veon Bell up the gut. A couple of deep shots. It’s predictable, it’s stale, and it needs to be improved upon. The players have offered a solution. Let’s see if Haley is willing to listen.