Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert sat down with SiriusXM NFL Radio for an interview following his media session at the 2012 NFL combine and he was asked about several things concerning the Steelers by host Adam Schein and Rich Gannon. A few of the questions centered around the style of play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the forthcoming relationship he will have with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
First Colbert was asked about how the change from Bruce Arians to Haley came about and Colbert said, “Ultimately Coach Tomlin felt that Coach Arians was talking about retirement and that was the decision that was made. In hiring Coach Haley, I don\’t think Mike had any previous knowledge of Coach Haley, except playing against him in the league. And Todd always did a good job against us. He almost beat us in the Super Bowl when he was part of the Cardinals and then he did beat us at Kansas City one year and almost beat us again this year. So I think there was a lot of mutual respect and I think, and this is what Mike shared with us after his initial meeting with Todd. He appreciated the knowledge that Todd had for the Steelers, having been there when his father worked for us. So understanding the culture and the history was real big and obviously from an X and O\’s standpoint he is very qualified.”
Next Colbert was asked if the new offense emphasize more protection of Roethlisberger to which he replied, “Will the new offense emphasis more protection of Ben Roethlisberger. Regardless of who the coordinator is or who is offensive line is, Ben is always going to live on the edge and that\’s the way he is. Whether or not he changes, I don\’t know.” That was quickly followed up with a question about how they can help Roethlisberger with his style of play. Colbert responded to that with a lengthy answer as he said, “I think the thing you can do as an organization or a coaching staff, and I can not speak for Coach Tomlin, I think you have to emphasize, look you don\’t have to do this every play. And you got to learn to distinguish between when you need to and when you don\’t. I think great players become great players once they do that. I always talk about Brett Favre when he was young, he did the same things and I think once he learned to trust the system, and then make a play when the system breaks down, which it\’s going to break down sooner or later, and you got to create and be special. I think that\’s what makes great players great. I always tell people, look, the touchdown that Ben threw to beat Arizona was 3.78 seconds and it probably should have been out in 2.1 or 2.2. So we can complain about it, we can talk about it, but ultimately that\’s who he is. I think though the thing we can do or say to him is, look, you don\’t have to make every play, every play. Wayne Fontes, when I worked for Detroit used to say, every meal is not a banquet. I never forgot that and it\’s true. There\’s time where you can just work the ball down the field, but great competitors, there\’s no one more competitive than Ben. I mean he\’s ridiculous in everything he does and I don\’t think you can take that away from him. Can you maybe cultivate it a little bit to the point where he understands we need him not for one play; we need him for 16 games and hopefully more.”
To close out the line of questioning on Roethlisberger and Haley, Colbert was asked if he had any concerns of the two clashing at all because of their personalities. Colbert replied. “I am sure there will be. I think any great quarterback and you put a great coach with him, there will be disagreements. I am sure there is going to be arguments, but that doesn\’t mean that it cant be productive and that it cant work. I know this. When you have a great competitor like Ben and another great competitor like Todd, they\’re both going to compete and try to get to that ultimate goal. Will there be? Sure, there will be discussions and disagreements along the way and I don\’t think anybody will be surprised by that and I wont either. I\’m sure Coach Arians and Ben didn\’t see eye to eye all the time. We may have not seen it or heard about it, but there\’s never agreement on 100% of what you\’re doing and what you\’re calling and what he\’s seeing and what you\’re seeing. It\’s never going to be a 100% agreement. So we\’re not worried about that all.”
We will have more from the interview with Colbert up a little later.