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.