Roethlisberger & Rest Of Offense Must Now Graduate From Todd Haley University

Todd Haley SteelersPittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger graduated from Miami (Ohio) University this past week and now he and the rest of the Steelers offense will go to summer school in attempt to graduate from Todd Haley University.

Roethlisberger has not been shy about telling the media types in recent interviews that the offense that new offensive coordinator Todd Haley is installing is pretty foreign to him thus far. He has even made a few references to it as needing a Rosetta Stone book to understand it. Roethlisberger was recently quoted by Ed Bouchette in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette in regard to comparing classes he took to graduate to a recent one that Haley recently taught, “That one\’s a little harder than the Miami ones I was doing. I joke and say that my final paper for Miami on Tibet was a lot easier than the Rosetta Stone we\’re doing now here.” Roethlisberger also was asked how much change there is in the new offense versus what he had ran the last several years under former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and he replied, “Everything, The similarities would be on a shorter list. Off the top of my head, from what I\’ve seen so far, there\’s a 90 percent change.”

Roethlisberger is not the only Steelers player on offense that seems somewhat overwhelmed by the changes Haley has made as third year wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders posted on Twitter, “This new playbook is something serious!!!!! Bout to go old-school and make some flashcards.” You can only imagine what the others on offense are thinking as well as they go through Rosetta Stone 101. Keep in mind that restricted free agent Mike Wallace has yet to sign his restricted tender and he likely will not be around until training camp begins at the earliest. It is unknown if he is even allowed to have his playbook yet being as he is not currently under contract, but even if he does have it, nothing beats putting it into action on the practice field.

Roethlisberger said right after Haley was hired that he hoped the offense wouldn\’t change too much as he was concerned about younger players being able to pick it up fast enough. He mostly was referring to his young group of receivers, who he said were just finally getting comfortable in the offense that Arians was running. He also stated though that he was not going to complain about moving forward at that time, and outside of his few “Rosetta Stone” jabs, he really hasn\’t. Bouchette quoted him saying this week, “I\’m just going to take it in stride and learn it and help us be the best we can be to win games.” That is a great attitude for a student to have and it only would be better if we found out he brings Haley an apple to every class.

The Steelers offense does have one thing on its side right now and that is time. Had this been last season there certainly would be a legitimate reason to be concerned as the lockout eliminated all of the mini-camps and OTA sessions. Trying to learn the offense in training camp alone would be tough, but this year there will be plenty of classroom and on the field time to get things ironed out before things get underway in Latrobe. In seasons past the starting offensive unit usually plays very sparingly during the preseason, so we might see a slight increase in playing time this year in the meaningless games. We shall see.

While the summer classes at THU will not be easy, the students seem smart enough and willing to learn. By the time the regular season rolls around we will know who passed and who failed summer school when we look at the final 53 man roster. Those that make the cut will have graduated and they will hopefully get their diplomas in the form of a jersey with their last name on it. Some will do it with honors, while others will just skate by. Like most graduations, there are always the gifts to look forward to and hopefully for the THU Class of 2012, one of those presents is belated and in the form of a Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season.

I sure hope Wallace gets the Cliff Notes and can take the classes online.

  • Eric87

    Any new news on the wallace negotiations? It would benefit him to be there for OTA’s and minicamps unless he just plans on being Randy Moss this year and running 9 routes all day long

  • ponhaas

    don’t understand why todd haley can’t learn the old termology and just change the plays.

  • Kingmagyar

    I’m optimistic with the new offense but if we have a set back year because of it, I will be most upset with Bruce Arians. He was a stubborn mule that totally ignored criticism and would not change no matter how many times he was told .He failed to develop Ben and have him grow. All Arians needed to do is tweak his game, but his refusal and/or arrogance led to this Rosetta Stone.

  • Harold

    What are all these “plays” that Ben wants to keep so badly? The bubble screen? The 50 yard bomb? We didn’t have any pass plays. It was all improvised scramble routes.

    Okay so I’m exaggerating, but the fact remains, this offense needed a complete overhaul. I’m no professional play caller but I can tell you that with our weapons at WR, plan A should be short routes/slants/quick outs/crossing patterns to just get the ball in our playmakers hands and let them run. They will pile up YAC’s. If the defense cheats down with pressure THEN you go WR’s deep and drag the TE’s or RB’s underneath. It’s not rocket science.

    I’m glad Haley is changing things. That’s why Rooney (I mean, Tomlin) brought him in.

  • PoKey21

    What doess Wallace have to worry about? Everyone knows his routes anyway. Streaks and Posts with slight variations mixed in like a post corner or skinny post lol. On running plays block towards the sideline. Maybe motion to the other side, but still do the same thing. A receiver with his attributes doesnt have much of a learning curb. Thats why he did so well as a rookie, even though most rookie WRs struggle.

  • Paul

    I don’t understand why the offense would be different. You run the ball or pass the ball.
    Its when you call a particular play that matters. I think Ben along with Haley and Tomlin are pulling our legs. If Ben is referring to it as Rosetta Stone FLC, Haley needs to interpret a little better. Its on Haley, its his job to compromise and get the players on the same page. Looking like his one year contract will be just that

  • LouPGH

    I admit there’s a bit of risk with the Haley hiring, but I, for one, am glad to see our guys feeling less-than-complacent.

    As another poster mentioned, BA might have been well liked by the players (if not the fans), but his inability or unwillingness to make adjustments held the offense back. Everyone seemed okay with just scoring enough points to eek out a lead and hoping the defense could make (another) stop.

    I’ll be the first to admit BA was working with a pretty bad O-line, but his could not have been the ONLY way to work around that fact. Haley has had some success and I think we have the talent to execute.

  • Woodleykills56

    I think its just Ben always being dramatic.

  • Finnegans Wake

    Don’t understand why Haley should adapt to the old system. Come on, defenses were sniffing out our plays on formation and personnel, time to shake things up, including terminology. Ravens D has been hearing Italian for 10 years, let them hear Greek.

  • zbluez1

    I look at some of the posts above me and scratch my head. If all it took to be an NFL wide receiver and to understand an offensive system was to “block towards the sideline” and run ” streaks, posts, and so forth ” and make a big payday then we would all try and do it. Learning an offensive system is like learning a new language and then going to the native country and speaking it like a native. Now add in the complexity of having all 11 people in the huddle needing to do it like natives. The less Mr. Wallace attends Haley U., the less he will be able to speak the language like a native, the less productive he will be, the less of a paycheck he will earn in 2013. Unfortunately sometimes people with great natural gifts forget that it also takes a ton of hard work, both mentally and physically, to succeed in the NFL. If Mr. Wallace makes more than a couple of mental mistakes, especially early in the season, it will cost him more than a couple of million dollars over his next contract. I know I’d be doing great if I could have a couple of million bucks to spend. I wonder if he’ll realize what he is potentially going to miss out on?

  • If it’s this difficult for the players to learn it, it will be that much more difficult for the opposing defense to sniff it out. The players are professionals. They’ll learn the playbook. It’s only May.

  • Ronnie

    So why did our rival hire Arians if he was so bad?

  • SteelersBall

    Yeah, what did BA know? After all he only went to 3 superbowls. Maybe if he had called the game the way the critics had said the Steelers would have gone to more big games. Of course T Haley is a superbowl winning record is…well MIA

  • Kingmagyar

    Well BA knows one thing for sure. He was fired. He knows he wasn’t the OC for the first bowl, and the 2nd was won because of a complete improvised drive at the end, and the 3rd was primarily lost because Ben wasn’t reading defenses the way he should be for a 7 year vet.

  • Yoni

    No reason that a playbook/terminology should be so complicated. The best offensive gurus in football (Chip Kelly, Gus Malzahn, Dana Holgerson, Mike Leach) have very basic playbooks and the terminology is as simple as it gets (one number or word).

    Their secret is to have a few “bread and butter” plays that work well, and several counters for each play depending upon the defense’s reaction. Then they practice practice practice and master those few plays/counters until it becomes second nature.

    Have to say I’m very concerned about this.

  • Beerman9

    I wouldn’t necessarily say the third SB was Primarily lost because of Ben. One INT was taken out of Wallace’s hands if I remember correctly. There was definitely also the Mendenhall fumble, missed Sushi FG, inability of D-fense to stop the pass at times early and late in game as well.

  • RMSteeler

    Ben tried to force the ball to Wallace on four straight passes. Heath and Hines were wide open. Tried to do what he did with Holmes in previous SB. Defenders were reading his tunnel vision all the way.

  • RMSteeler

    Because his offense is so simple, and they will be starting a rookie QB.

  • SteelersBall

    There is usually one than one possible reason why a game is won or lost. If they had done xyx, or not done abc…. Does not change the fact the BA was with the Steelers during the 2006 SB, 2009 SB and the 2011 SB, doesn’t matter if he was the QB coach or OC. Haley has been to (and lost) one SB. Haley has one thing in common with BA, he has been fired too!

  • mokhkw

    Anyone remember Santonio Holmes on Hard Knocks 2010 with the Jets talking about the differences between the Jets and the Steelers Offense?

    He mentioned that on some passing plays with the Steelers he knew the ball wasn’t coming his way, no matter what happened.

    Haley’s system may be more complicated, but if Ben wants to be like Peyton Manning & run the no-huddle more often then he’s going to have to use a more complex system than the BA one.

    BA is exactly where he should be – working with a new QB, which is what he does best. He did a great job with P.Manning & Ben, but after a while (3-5 years) it’s time to diversify.

  • bossmanham

    Have fun with Haley Steelers fans. We here in KC just loved his erratic behavior, crazy homeless beard, disgusting hat, and playing Tyler Palko out of spite for the GM….