Ben Roethlisberger Hints That The Todd Haley Offense Could Feature More No-huddle

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joined Rich Eisen on his podcast Tuesday for a lengthy interview and told Eisen that he came away from his early meetings with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley with the notion that the offense might be able to run more no-huddle than it has in previous years under former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Roethlisberger also tried to somewhat dispel the myth to Eisen that the offense will be running the ball more than they did with Arians calling the plays.

Roethlisberger told Eisen during the interview, “I get a little confused at times because so much has been made about us, quote-unquote, throwing the ball too much, or going back to Steeler football and running the ball more.” Roethlisberger continued, “In these meetings I\’ve had with coach Haley, he\’s all about the no-huddle and using our wide-receiver weapons and throwing the ball and stuff like that.”

Perhaps the biggest beef Roethlisberger ever had with Arians over the years was that he wanted to run more no-huddle. Arians even had admitted in a few interviews how his quarterback was constantly asking to run it more. Back in October of last season Arians hinted to the injuries that the Steelers had sustained on their offensive line as being partly to blame for the lack of the no-huddle offense being used. Arians said at that time, “There have been a lot of interchanging pieces,” Arians said. “We\’re not as coherent as I\’d like to be with all 11 guys to run a lot of it, but we\’re capable of running it. And it may become a major force like it has in the past.”

Arians was asked in that same interview if he had resisted the no-huddle because it takes play-calling duties away from him and he replied, “No, I have all the trust in the world in (Roethlisberger) calling the plays,” said Arians, who added the Steelers prepare to use a no-huddle in the third or fourth series of a game if they need it. “It\’s the other 10 guys in the huddle functioning properly at that speed. (Roethlisberger) can play that a whole lot faster than the other 10 guys. When I see everybody playing as fast as he does in the no-huddle, then I think we\’ll be more than ready.”

When you look at the raw stats from 2011, the Steelers ran a total of 54 no-huddle plays in 9 different regular season games. 13 of those 54 plays were runs that went for 49 yards. The other 41 plays were drop backs by Roethlisberger that resulted in 21 completions on 38 attempts for 291 passing yards. Roethlisberger was sacked on the 3 other drop backs and threw 2 interceptions. One of those two interceptions was the botched play at the end of half against the Tennessee Titans where there was clearly miscommunication on that play between the receivers and Roethlisberger.

On the surface it appears that Roethlisberger will get his wish to run more no-huddle in 2012 with Haley now running the show and the offensive line figures to be in much better shape as well with the addition of first round draft pick David Decastro and the return of Willie Colon from two injury plagued seasons that caused him to miss all but one game during that span.

I will have a closer look at the use of the no-huddle by Haley over the years in a future post and we will see just how much he used it with the Arizona Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs and see if indeed Roethlisberger should be getting his no-huddle hopes up.

You can listen to the complete Roethlisberger interview on the Rich Eisen Podcast below and it begins at the 6:20 mark.


  • Jefferson St. Joe

    I suspect the decisions regarding the no-huddle were never entirely made by Arians. In many situations this past year where the no-huddle could have been used to spark the offense, they were during games where the defense was having trouble getting off the field and when a 30 second drive by the offense would really doom the game. That’s why I think Tomlin would be the one to delay its use on occasion.

  • SteelSpine

    Thanks DaveB for stats comparing no-huddle performances to the success rate of huddled results. I think research like that sets this website apart & above any other.

    Having changed offensive coordinators reminds me though: If our offense doesnt improve this year, then there will be a built-in excuse of having changed offensive coordinators in the offseason. I hate excuses. Although no fan wants to hear theres any chance their offense could be worse than a previous year, & here’s hoping our offense IS fine this year, I hate the built-in excuse of having changed offensive coordinators in the offseason. Not saying anyone’s doing it yet for this upcoming season, I remember prior to Bruce Arians, the changes were annually used to excuse whichever season had recently ended.

  • SteelerDave

    I agree with you Joe. Unless your defense is fresh enough to come back onto the field after only a short rest, the no huddle is something which should not be used. However when run plays and plays which will continue to use up the clock is as nearly an equal part as passing in the no huddle – that is when it can be used more often.

  • burghball

    no huddle does not mean “hurry up” Just because a team sets up on the line of scrimmage without a huddle does not directly mean they will snap the ball right away. Hurry up offensives want to run as many as as you can – see Oregon. Hurry up and no huddle are 2 different things. One of the main reasons to run the no huddle is to keep the defense from switching personel and into different packages allowing the offense to take advantage of mismatches. Ben can still wait till the last second on the play clock before he calls for the snap ( something that irritates me – but we’ll save that for another time..) or he can call for it right away – keeping defenses on their toes.

  • Jprankster2005

    I think with this new O line and the few players we got coming back from injury and the few draft picks we can do alot of everything and score alot more TD’s and Big Ben will probably have a shot at the MVP if he doesn’t get hurt… He will be right up there with the best this yr…..

  • Kenneth Wilt

    There is a big difference between running the No Huddle and running the Hurry Up offense, at least from my perspective. The Hurry Up requires you to line up and run plays from a select few, most times out of the same formation and with the receivers making decisions as they look at the coverage. The No Huddle is a place where decisions can be made at the line. The formation can be changed, the play can even be called at the line. There is no rush to get the play off, and you can even wait until the clock is almost expired before snapping the ball. To me they are 2 different things.

  • mokhkw

    No-huddle, regular huddle, run or pass – I’m happy with anything which gets us into the end-zone on a more regular basis. 🙂

    I prefer smash-mouth football but atm it’s obvious where our strength on O lies – in the talent at QB & WR.

    That being said, what the O decides to do should be dependent upon the D they are playing against. Why pass against a #1 passing D which doesn’t do as well stopping the run ( and vice-versa)?

    Only issue I have with a no-huddle is that every QB who runs it ends up passing over 2/3 of the time and the running game usually goes by the wayside, even when opportunities present themselves.

    For the Steelers, who do they have at RB atm that you’d be confident in being in a no-huddle? I can’t think of one, unless Moore is re-signed or they sign Hightower. Redman, Dwyer, Clay, Batch, Rainey etc. don’t have the playing experience to do that yet imo.

    Obviously Mendenhall can, but who knows when ( and if) he’ll ever be back for the Steelers?

  • Fish

    Spine – You share the same concern that I do about the excuses and there has been one that may have tried already to lay the groundwork in case the offense is less then stellar this year, by way of his comments. Mr. Rosetta Stone will be the only wildcard to the offense this season provided the projected starters all stay healthy. There should be no excuses this year, especially with Haley in the fold with his coaching style, the buddy buddy days are over, and I firmly believe that’s why the Steelers made the move.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Well, right now the leaders at RB to play in the no huddle would be Batch or Rainey for me. This is one of those things that can allow you to get young guys into the game. You prepare them for 8-10 plays which they get down. You put him in and run those plays in the no huddle. It is basically a package for that player. Ultimately, he ends up learning more plays as he goes.

  • Woodleykills56

    I’d just be happy with a little more clock management when the Steelers have the ball. It seemed like it worked before in the Cowher era.

  • PghPaul

    This is all starting to make sense to me, first we hire Haley and he installs a “New” offensive terminology(Could it be Arians was predictable?) then we draft heavy on the offensive line, and now Ben’s talking “no huddle”.
    I see this all leading to a new and much improved unpredictable offense that will run, pass, no huddle, and most importantly SCORE!