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Todd Haley, The New Steelers Offensive Coordinator

In a signing that surprised many (as some thought his interview was a courtesy move), the Pittsburgh Steelers have signed Todd Haley to be their new offensive coordinator.

On the bright side, Haley was fantastic at pushing wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to be great. He challenged him on the physical aspect of his game and the work ethic, Fitzgerald loved his style, and football fans everywhere loved the results. Fitzgerald has since started holding summer workout camps. He got a 1000-yard season out of Steve Breaston in 2008, too.

On the other hand, you can look at the Cardinals‘ offensive numbers and wonder how they didn’t score more in 2008 and 2009, particularly when they ran the ball so well in 2009. Kurt Warner called many of the plays in Arizona.

Essentially, what makes this a decent hire is that Haley does have a lot of experience attacking defenses, and working under a great head coach in Bill Parcells back in Dallas. He’s also worked with inconsistent line play for Big Red and the Chiefs, and with two of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL, Kurt Warner and Matt Cassel. To truly assess the job he did in Kansas City, you need to evaluate all the injuries – Charles, Cassel, Baldwin – and what Herm Edwards left him with. This is probably the best hire the Steelers could make, looking at who was available.

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  1. DrGeorge

    February 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Since Wisenhutt was himself an OC before going to the Cardinals, it is difficult to separate his input from Haley’s in that organization. Plus, much of any coach’s success derives from the talent available to him. The Steelers’ offensive talent is several levels up from the Cardinals or the Chiefs. Our passing game needs only a few tweaks; the running game needs better blocking schemes. The talent itself is there, except for a dominant OT. If Haley can balance our attack and perhaps resurrect a few gadgets from the Wisenhutt legacy, we will be fine. Haley doesn’t have to walk on water to succeed here. He simply needs to be competent. As a former head coach, he understands how the offense affects the defense, positively and negatively. And we can be sure that he has already heard from Mr. Rooney what is expected. I agree with Matt that this looks like a good hire.

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  3. kingtut

    February 7, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Great hire. No intentions of Tomlin promoting in house and keeping the same intentions that were consistant with Arians and maybe, just maybe motivate Ben to individually tweak his game to accept change. Short passes and 3 step drops. That running around is going to get him killed. The other cast members may be affected as well. Blocking and catching should be emphasied as teaching will have to cross the lines of communication with the OL & WR coaches. Haley should bring a sence of urgency that this team needs on OF. I think as fans were complacent.We support a team that averages success. We should realize the players realize this too and their getting paid, Bigtime. I hope this hiring ignites a fire to the organization to a smooth transition of not going back to the way the Steelers played but of how to play smart Steeler football.

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  5. Mark

    February 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    If Haley can get the most out of the weapons the Steelers have, then of course its a good hire. The question that will arise of course,is can he get along with Ben? Haley has to know that Ben is the MOST important cog in the machine. Haley shouting at Ben is not going to fly in Pittsburgh. Ben wont tolerate it and more importantly, Tomlin wont either. If the organization brought Haley in, its for more than 1 reason. The reasons are more than likely: his play-calling,his ties to the organization and maybe his ability to help Ben mature (make him more accountable) and play better with balance. My question is this; if Haley made his bones running a more spread offense in Arizona, what is he willing to do in Pittsburgh since it seems we are trying to get away from that? Haley helped make Larry Fitzgerald a dominant player and helped resurrect Kurt Warner as well. Since Whiz was the head coach coming from an O.C standpoint, how much was Haley and how much was Whiz? I KNOW our weapons are better than Kansas City’s and if not for the plethora of injuries they suffered, Haley might very well have had more success there. Anyway, lets see how it plays out but I have faith that the front office would never have brought Haley in if they didn’t think he could do the job they want. Lets hope Ben is open to this and Haley is a teacher and not a dictator. Haley was the most logical option for the team to fill that vacancy.

    • DrGeorge

      February 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      Mark, I agree with your comment, but had never heard Haley was a holler guy. What’s the scoop? I thought Haley got along well with Kurt Warner and that Warner’s quick release in the spread was what the Steelers wanted Haley to install here, for Ben’s good health as well as the team’s success.

      Rooney said publicly that he wants to run the ball more, but I don’t recall him (or anyone else) suggesting that we ought to get away from the spread — especially given the NFL rules on pass coverage. I would think Haley’s mission is to develop an effective running game out of a modified spread, as the better teams already do.

  6. Mark

    February 7, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    DrGeorge, I have seen numerous articles on Haley’s ire and his getting right in the faces of players. I guess even some players have screamed back at him and that it is all over the video world. As far as the spread offense, I agree that Haley will probably be instructed to tweak the current spread the Steelers run. Yes, a quicker release and some quicker decisions on Ben’s part could save him from the sacks and hits he takes all year. Maybe Haley can drill that without the rants and raves that he is associated with?

    • DrGeorge

      February 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      Thanks, Mark. I saw the Post-Gazette articles after my note to you. Ron Cook seems to think Haley will get along with Ben, and K. Warner and Wisenhutt were both supportive of Haley. I recommend the article on Joe Greene (written before the Haley hire) with his comments about last year’s offense. It’s like reading bullet points from the blogs here last season.

      Cook believes that Rooney II hired Haley specifically because he would avoid the laissez-faire (buddy-buddy) style Arians had with Ben. R. That does not translate into screaming and yelling, but I think it harbingers a more disciplined Ben R. in 2012 — which would be good for him and the team.

  7. Mike

    February 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    My one question that peaks my curiosity about this hire is “Why did it take so long?”. With Haley’s connection to the Steeler organization through his father, you would think the Steelers would have pursued him in a more aggressive manner. In the past, the Steelers have selected coaches (Cowher) as well as college players (Carlton Haselrig comes to mind) that have strong ties to the Pittsburgh community, Steeler Nation and even those that have attended high school in the area. Todd Blackledge received a second chance with the Steelers largely in part because his father, Ron, was an assistant coach under Noll. The Rooney family is extremely loyal to the greater Pittsburgh area. In the Haley hiring, was it a case of the Steelers doing their due diligence in their selection process or is there something about Haley that made them a little apprehensive?

    • kingtut

      February 9, 2012 at 2:11 am

      Thr Rooneys and Steelers dont make haste decisons. Remember Tomlin’s hire? Everyone thought Russ then Ken. Nope they went outside the box. How did that turn out? Now Haley? This decision didnt take long at all. It was made way before the Superbowl and announced the day after! Great timing! Tomlin, Colbert & Haley can now focus on interviews for the draft. Hopefully OL. T, LG and just maybe a TE since Saunders is suspended for the first 4 games.I think this is an excellent hire because this will be the dream job for Haley! Go Steelers!

      • Mike

        February 9, 2012 at 7:48 am

        Agree that the Steelers do not make decisions in haste. I also agree that the decision to “release”, “fire”, or do whatever with Arians was made before the Denver loss. However, if you note, Arians got the Indy OC job days after “retiring ” from the Steelers. (Shortest retirement this side of Mr. Farve) Haley was available longer than Arains and the Steelers toyed with other options for a while. Don’t get me wrong. I am a fan that likes to wait and see how things turn out before I render an opinion. I am excited at the possible differences that Haley can make. I was just curious as to see what other Steeler fans felt.

        • kingtut

          February 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm

          Mike, I also feel that we will get a true FB that can catch out the back field and block for holes up front. David johnson maybe out. unless they keep him until Wesley Saunders come back from the 4 game suspension. Haley did beat us with a prolific running game in 09″ Mewelde should be gone so Batch,Clay and Redman should hold it down until Mendy gets well. What is your take on Hines? I think he should retire with all the speed on the team now. I really feel he has nothing else to prove. I see the Steelers have obtained 3 more WR’s for futures contracts and 2 good QB’s Im thinking Emmanuel sanders with his foot issues, Dixon and Leftwich RFA maybe gone. Batch will be great coaching, I dont think he can take another hit!

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