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Todd Haley Likes Using Running Backs In The Passing Game


Since the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Florida running back Chris Rainey in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft, one really can\'t help but to think that new offensive coordinator Todd Haley plans to use him the same way that he used Dexter McCluster when he was the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. It got me wondering just how much Haley used his running backs in the passing game dating back to his time as the offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals so I pulled the stats for all 32 teams dating back to 2007. I have included the running back targets and receptions in the numbers to go along with total plays, attempts and a few more stats as you can see in the sortable table below.

What is interesting is that in the last five years that Haley has coached, running backs have been targeted 21.40% of the time in attempted passes. That resulted in 24.20% of all passes completed that were thrown in total to wide receivers, tight ends and running backs. In his nearly three full years with Chiefs, Haley threw to the running backs no less than 20.1% of the time. The most was nearly 30% in 2010. Even dating back to his time with the Cardinals, running backs were thrown to right around 18% of the time when passes were attempted.

One of the biggest knocks on former Steelers offensive coordinator was that he did not use the running backs enough in the passing game and the stats support that claim. Dating back to 2007 the Steelers averaged throwing to the backs 14.40% of the time of all pass attempts. 2011 was the least of all five years Arians was in Pittsburgh as the backs were targeted just 11.9% of the time. So basically judging by the last five years of stats, offenses under Haley threw to the running backs 7% more than Arians coached offenses did. The average for the league over that span of time was 19.6% and Haley is clearly over that number.

One thing the data also shows us is that Haley has a higher pass/run ratio overall than Arians did during that span. Now of course playing from behind could play a large part in that, but Haley did have Kurt Warner as his quarterback while with Arizona. Over the last five years Haley offenses have passed 56.60% of the time compares to 54.30% for Arians. Another thing that the data shows us that quarterbacks have only been sacked 5.60% of the time they have dropped back in Haley offenses, compared to 8.50% for the Steelers under Arians. The league average during that span was 6.1% and I do not need to tell you how big of a beating that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has taken over that span of five seasons.

While both Haley and Arians both had pretty comparable yards per reception and yards per attempt numbers when throwing to the running backs over those years, you can see that in 2010 the Chiefs running backs had a nice 6.2 yards per attempt and a 9.3 yards per reception that season. That was thanks to both Jamaal Charles and McCluster as the Chiefs entire group of running backs combined for nearly 100 receptions that season.

Now these stats do not tell you everything and they certainly do not rival anything like what DVOA type stats do as they are raw numbers and percentages and do not take into account down and distance, field position and score. One thing that I think we take away from these stats is that Haley will have Roethlisberger using the running backs more in the passing game. This will be good news for players like Rainey and that is probably exactly why they drafted him. Do not forget that second year running back Baron Batch also played in a spread offense at Texas Tech and he too is a pretty nifty receiver out of the backfield. Batch also showed a knack in college for being able to pick up the blitz as well, something that Rainey likely will not be asked to do very much. Using the running backs more in the passing game should help keep Roethlisberger off his back more than usual in addition and that is always a good thing.

Have some fun with these stats and post your own observations below.

TM YR PLS RSH SCK ATT CMP RB ATT RB CMP YDS YPC YPA RB ATT % RB COC % SCK % PASS %
ARI 2007 1016 402 24 590 356 105 65 520 8.00 4.95 17.8% 18.3% 3.9% 60.4%
ARI 2008 998 340 28 630 418 118 81 604 7.46 5.12 18.7% 19.4% 4.3% 65.9%
ARI 2009 985 365 26 594 392 131 98 727 7.42 5.55 22.1% 25.0% 4.2% 62.9%
ARI 2010 931 320 50 561 285 89 50 363 7.26 4.08 15.9% 17.5% 8.2% 65.6%
ARI 2011 993 389 54 550 307 72 49 482 9.84 6.69 13.1% 16.0% 8.9% 60.8%
ATL 2007 987 385 47 555 336 108 71 551 7.76 5.10 19.5% 21.1% 7.8% 61.0%
ATL 2008 1011 560 17 434 265 83 58 525 9.05 6.33 19.1% 21.9% 3.8% 44.6%
ATL 2009 1048 451 27 570 332 87 69 585 8.48 6.72 15.3% 20.8% 4.5% 57.0%
ATL 2010 1097 497 23 577 361 98 73 530 7.26 5.41 17.0% 20.2% 3.8% 54.7%
ATL 2011 1073 453 26 594 365 97 70 568 8.11 5.86 16.3% 19.2% 4.2% 57.8%
BAL 2007 1042 446 39 557 341 102 85 520 6.12 5.10 18.3% 24.9% 6.5% 57.2%
BAL 2008 1058 592 33 433 261 120 83 604 7.28 5.03 27.7% 31.8% 7.1% 44.0%
BAL 2009 1014 468 36 510 321 151 115 932 8.10 6.17 29.6% 35.8% 6.6% 53.8%
BAL 2010 1018 487 40 491 308 125 97 729 7.52 5.83 25.5% 31.5% 7.5% 52.2%
BAL 2011 1036 459 33 544 314 151 104 856 8.23 5.67 27.8% 33.1% 5.7% 55.7%
BUF 2007 919 448 26 445 263 78 57 487 8.54 6.24 17.5% 21.7% 5.5% 51.3%
BUF 2008 956 439 38 479 309 116 87 651 7.48 5.61 24.2% 28.2% 7.4% 54.1%
BUF 2009 911 424 46 441 256 105 80 604 7.55 5.75 23.8% 31.3% 9.4% 53.5%
BUF 2010 954 401 34 519 296 99 62 420 6.77 4.24 19.1% 20.9% 6.1% 58.0%
BUF 2011 992 391 23 578 356 123 88 763 8.67 6.20 21.3% 24.7% 3.8% 60.6%
CAR 2007 989 451 33 505 285 90 61 415 6.80 4.61 17.8% 21.4% 6.1% 54.4%
CAR 2008 938 504 20 414 246 61 39 208 5.33 3.41 14.7% 15.9% 4.6% 46.3%
CAR 2009 1023 525 33 465 264 91 58 488 8.41 5.36 19.6% 22.0% 6.6% 48.7%
CAR 2010 962 428 50 484 256 104 74 572 7.73 5.50 21.5% 28.9% 9.4% 55.5%
CAR 2011 999 445 35 519 312 93 66 576 8.73 6.19 17.9% 21.2% 6.3% 55.5%
CHI 2007 1035 423 43 569 327 120 86 693 8.06 5.78 21.1% 26.3% 7.0% 59.1%
CHI 2008 991 434 29 528 304 106 84 610 7.26 5.75 20.1% 27.6% 5.2% 56.2%
CHI 2009 971 373 35 563 340 90 67 511 7.63 5.68 16.0% 19.7% 5.9% 61.6%
CHI 2010 936 414 56 466 276 95 70 676 9.66 7.12 20.4% 25.4% 10.7% 55.8%
CHI 2011 978 456 49 473 268 118 83 721 8.69 6.11 24.9% 31.0% 9.4% 53.4%
CIN 2007 1008 416 17 575 373 96 75 534 7.12 5.56 16.7% 20.1% 2.9% 58.7%
CIN 2008 984 420 51 513 303 79 52 361 6.94 4.57 15.4% 17.2% 9.0% 57.3%
CIN 2009 1011 505 29 477 286 81 61 442 7.25 5.46 17.0% 21.3% 5.7% 50.0%
CIN 2010 1046 428 28 590 365 80 61 392 6.43 4.90 13.6% 16.7% 4.5% 59.1%
CIN 2011 1015 455 25 535 308 76 53 349 6.58 4.59 14.2% 17.2% 4.5% 55.2%
CLE 2007 1004 440 19 545 305 102 69 590 8.55 5.78 18.7% 22.6% 3.4% 56.2%
CLE 2008 921 409 24 488 238 108 71 540 7.61 5.00 22.1% 29.8% 4.7% 55.6%
CLE 2009 971 498 30 443 219 97 63 396 6.29 4.08 21.9% 28.8% 6.3% 48.7%
CLE 2010 927 413 36 478 296 97 75 600 8.00 6.19 20.3% 25.3% 7.0% 55.4%
CLE 2011 1024 415 39 570 320 94 65 451 6.94 4.80 16.5% 20.3% 6.4% 59.5%
DAL 2007 975 419 25 531 342 86 73 540 7.40 6.28 16.2% 21.3% 4.5% 57.0%
DAL 2008 979 401 31 547 328 96 77 619 8.04 6.45 17.6% 23.5% 5.4% 59.0%
DAL 2009 1020 436 34 550 347 83 61 477 7.82 5.75 15.1% 17.6% 5.8% 57.3%
DAL 2010 1035 428 31 576 379 102 82 629 7.67 6.17 17.7% 21.6% 5.1% 58.6%
DAL 2011 1017 408 39 570 376 111 83 578 6.96 5.21 19.5% 22.1% 6.4% 59.9%
DEN 2007 976 429 32 515 326 81 59 423 7.17 5.22 15.7% 18.1% 5.9% 56.0%
DEN 2008 1019 387 12 620 386 61 43 413 9.60 6.77 9.8% 11.1% 1.9% 62.0%
DEN 2009 1032 440 34 558 341 89 63 472 7.49 5.30 15.9% 18.5% 5.7% 57.4%
DEN 2010 1018 398 40 580 334 100 72 678 9.42 6.78 17.2% 21.6% 6.5% 60.9%
DEN 2011 1017 546 42 429 217 84 54 423 7.83 5.04 19.6% 24.9% 8.9% 46.3%
DET 2007 965 324 54 587 368 94 70 478 6.83 5.09 16.0% 19.0% 8.4% 66.4%
DET 2008 913 352 52 509 281 88 68 470 6.91 5.34 17.3% 24.2% 9.3% 61.4%
DET 2009 1037 409 43 585 316 130 90 843 9.37 6.48 22.2% 28.5% 6.8% 60.6%
DET 2010 1064 404 27 633 383 156 110 879 7.99 5.63 24.6% 28.7% 4.1% 62.0%
DET 2011 1058 356 36 666 423 116 87 798 9.17 6.88 17.4% 20.6% 5.1% 66.4%
GB 2007 985 388 19 578 383 115 87 556 6.39 4.83 19.9% 22.7% 3.2% 60.6%
GB 2008 1012 437 34 541 343 81 64 405 6.33 5.00 15.0% 18.7% 5.9% 56.8%
GB 2009 1042 438 51 553 357 86 65 514 7.91 5.98 15.6% 18.2% 8.4% 58.0%
GB 2010 1000 421 38 541 352 81 67 519 7.75 6.41 15.0% 19.0% 6.6% 57.9%
GB 2011 988 395 41 552 376 92 74 636 8.59 6.91 16.7% 19.7% 6.9% 60.0%
HOU 2007 968 417 22 529 346 111 87 534 6.14 4.81 21.0% 25.1% 4.0% 56.9%
HOU 2008 1019 432 32 555 367 96 76 538 7.08 5.60 17.3% 20.7% 5.5% 57.6%
HOU 2009 1043 425 25 593 399 125 100 838 8.38 6.70 21.1% 25.1% 4.0% 59.3%
HOU 2010 1029 423 32 574 365 114 84 767 9.13 6.73 19.9% 23.0% 5.3% 58.9%
HOU 2011 1046 546 33 467 288 102 71 750 10.56 7.35 21.8% 24.7% 6.6% 47.8%
IND 2007 1020 446 23 551 355 84 60 484 8.07 5.76 15.2% 16.9% 4.0% 56.3%
IND 2008 969 370 14 585 393 107 78 610 7.82 5.70 18.3% 19.8% 2.3% 61.8%
IND 2009 980 366 13 601 402 89 70 560 8.00 6.29 14.8% 17.4% 2.1% 62.7%
IND 2010 1088 393 16 679 450 78 57 427 7.49 5.47 11.5% 12.7% 2.3% 63.9%
IND 2011 951 382 35 534 302 52 39 218 5.59 4.19 9.7% 12.9% 6.2% 59.8%
JAX 2007 1022 522 31 469 288 89 61 568 9.31 6.38 19.0% 21.2% 6.2% 48.9%
JAX 2008 1005 426 42 537 335 114 94 808 8.60 7.09 21.2% 28.1% 7.3% 57.6%
JAX 2009 1010 447 44 519 315 103 74 489 6.61 4.75 19.8% 23.5% 7.8% 55.7%
JAX 2010 1019 512 38 469 291 99 75 611 8.15 6.17 21.1% 25.8% 7.5% 49.8%
JAX 2011 1002 489 44 469 240 102 66 525 7.95 5.15 21.7% 27.5% 8.6% 51.2%
KC 2007 1001 383 55 563 335 102 70 440 6.29 4.31 18.1% 20.9% 8.9% 61.7%
KC 2008 957 379 37 541 310 84 61 417 6.84 4.96 15.5% 19.7% 6.4% 60.4%
KC 2009 1019 438 45 536 296 108 77 546 7.09 5.06 20.1% 26.0% 7.7% 57.0%
KC 2010 1063 556 32 475 274 141 94 874 9.30 6.20 29.7% 34.3% 6.3% 47.7%
KC 2011 1021 487 34 500 299 113 80 536 6.70 4.74 22.6% 26.8% 6.4% 52.3%
MIA 2007 989 389 42 558 318 132 102 859 8.42 6.51 23.7% 32.1% 7.0% 60.7%
MIA 2008 965 448 26 491 330 118 88 774 8.80 6.56 24.0% 26.7% 5.0% 53.6%
MIA 2009 1088 509 34 545 331 120 83 594 7.16 4.95 22.0% 25.1% 5.9% 53.2%
MIA 2010 1040 445 38 557 335 109 72 536 7.44 4.92 19.6% 21.5% 6.4% 57.2%
MIA 2011 990 469 52 469 280 77 62 414 6.68 5.38 16.4% 22.1% 10.0% 52.6%
MIN 2007 964 494 38 432 249 96 66 691 10.47 7.20 22.2% 26.5% 8.1% 48.8%
MIN 2008 1014 519 43 452 267 118 83 570 6.87 4.83 26.1% 31.1% 8.7% 48.8%
MIN 2009 1054 467 34 553 377 128 97 892 9.20 6.97 23.1% 25.7% 5.8% 55.7%
MIN 2010 982 441 36 505 305 93 70 590 8.43 6.34 18.4% 23.0% 6.7% 55.1%
MIN 2011 1007 448 49 510 286 65 49 403 8.22 6.20 12.7% 17.1% 8.8% 55.5%
NE 2007 1058 451 21 586 403 84 62 583 9.40 6.94 14.3% 15.4% 3.5% 57.4%
NE 2008 1095 513 48 534 339 107 80 734 9.18 6.86 20.0% 23.6% 8.2% 53.2%
NE 2009 1076 466 18 592 390 105 74 608 8.22 5.79 17.7% 19.0% 3.0% 56.7%
NE 2010 986 454 25 507 331 85 61 609 9.98 7.16 16.8% 18.4% 4.7% 54.0%
NE 2011 1082 438 32 612 402 58 37 363 9.81 6.26 9.5% 9.2% 5.0% 59.5%
NO 2007 1060 392 16 652 440 189 146 877 6.01 4.64 29.0% 33.2% 2.4% 63.0%
NO 2008 1047 398 13 636 413 166 122 944 7.74 5.69 26.1% 29.5% 2.0% 62.0%
NO 2009 1032 468 20 544 378 139 106 773 7.29 5.56 25.6% 28.0% 3.5% 54.7%
NO 2010 1067 380 26 661 450 135 111 667 6.01 4.94 20.4% 24.7% 3.8% 64.4%
NO 2011 1117 431 24 662 472 180 143 1141 7.98 6.34 27.2% 30.3% 3.5% 61.4%
NYG 2007 1041 469 28 544 302 109 63 450 7.14 4.13 20.0% 20.9% 4.9% 54.9%
NYG 2008 1021 502 28 491 298 87 59 513 8.69 5.90 17.7% 19.8% 5.4% 50.8%
NYG 2009 1017 443 32 542 338 75 46 429 9.33 5.72 13.8% 13.6% 5.6% 56.4%
NYG 2010 1035 480 16 539 339 82 63 448 7.11 5.46 15.2% 18.6% 2.9% 53.6%
NYG 2011 1028 411 28 589 359 121 90 661 7.34 5.46 20.5% 25.1% 4.5% 60.0%
NYJ 2007 1011 446 53 512 310 86 64 430 6.72 5.00 16.8% 20.6% 9.4% 55.9%
NYJ 2008 981 422 30 529 347 110 84 563 6.70 5.12 20.8% 24.2% 5.4% 57.0%
NYJ 2009 1030 607 30 393 210 67 36 286 7.94 4.27 17.0% 17.1% 7.1% 41.1%
NYJ 2010 1087 534 28 525 288 116 78 548 7.03 4.72 22.1% 27.1% 5.1% 50.9%
NYJ 2011 1030 443 40 547 310 125 88 815 9.26 6.52 22.9% 28.4% 6.8% 57.0%
OAK 2007 1000 508 41 451 260 120 88 670 7.61 5.58 26.6% 33.8% 8.3% 49.2%
OAK 2008 919 459 39 421 222 108 74 618 8.35 5.72 25.7% 33.3% 8.5% 50.1%
OAK 2009 944 410 49 485 255 105 76 610 8.03 5.81 21.6% 29.8% 9.2% 56.6%
OAK 2010 1039 504 44 491 279 132 93 1053 11.32 7.98 26.9% 33.3% 8.2% 51.5%
OAK 2011 1015 466 25 524 315 118 92 939 10.21 7.96 22.5% 29.2% 4.6% 54.1%
PHI 2007 1047 421 49 577 350 153 111 919 8.28 6.01 26.5% 31.7% 7.8% 59.8%
PHI 2008 1056 427 23 606 362 121 92 779 8.47 6.44 20.0% 25.4% 3.7% 59.6%
PHI 2009 975 384 38 553 335 115 80 629 7.86 5.47 20.8% 23.9% 6.4% 60.6%
PHI 2010 1038 428 49 561 348 128 107 777 7.26 6.07 22.8% 30.7% 8.0% 58.8%
PHI 2011 1036 450 32 554 330 79 52 344 6.62 4.35 14.3% 15.8% 5.5% 56.6%
PIT 2007 1000 511 47 442 282 77 55 424 7.71 5.51 17.4% 19.5% 9.6% 48.9%
PIT 2008 1015 460 49 506 303 75 52 378 7.27 5.04 14.8% 17.2% 8.8% 54.7%
PIT 2009 1014 428 50 536 351 71 53 483 9.11 6.80 13.2% 15.1% 8.5% 57.8%
PIT 2010 993 471 43 479 298 73 56 432 7.71 5.92 15.2% 18.8% 8.2% 52.6%
PIT 2011 1015 434 42 539 341 64 47 333 7.09 5.20 11.9% 13.8% 7.2% 57.2%
SD 2007 980 485 24 471 281 120 83 550 6.63 4.58 25.5% 29.5% 4.8% 50.5%
SD 2008 924 421 25 478 312 138 105 1021 9.72 7.40 28.9% 33.7% 5.0% 54.4%
SD 2009 972 427 26 519 338 127 97 932 9.61 7.34 24.5% 28.7% 4.8% 56.1%
SD 2010 1039 457 38 544 359 154 127 998 7.86 6.48 28.3% 35.4% 6.5% 56.0%
SD 2011 1048 436 30 582 366 165 123 977 7.94 5.92 28.4% 33.6% 4.9% 58.4%
SEA 2007 1056 430 36 590 371 122 86 675 7.85 5.53 20.7% 23.2% 5.8% 59.3%
SEA 2008 927 417 36 474 262 93 59 453 7.68 4.87 19.6% 22.5% 7.1% 55.0%
SEA 2009 1045 395 41 609 372 147 109 773 7.09 5.26 24.1% 29.3% 6.3% 62.2%
SEA 2010 964 385 35 544 324 102 71 512 7.21 5.02 18.8% 21.9% 6.0% 60.1%
SEA 2011 1003 444 50 509 299 104 71 479 6.75 4.61 20.4% 23.7% 8.9% 55.7%
SF 2007 925 357 55 513 274 108 84 633 7.54 5.86 21.1% 30.7% 9.7% 61.4%
SF 2008 961 397 55 509 309 111 79 733 9.28 6.60 21.8% 25.6% 9.8% 58.7%
SF 2009 939 371 40 528 312 115 76 537 7.07 4.67 21.8% 24.4% 7.0% 60.5%
SF 2010 945 401 44 500 282 110 71 633 8.92 5.75 22.0% 25.2% 8.1% 57.6%
SF 2011 993 498 44 451 277 62 38 323 8.50 5.21 13.7% 13.7% 8.9% 49.8%
STL 2007 1026 404 48 574 333 118 84 562 6.69 4.76 20.6% 25.2% 7.7% 60.6%
STL 2008 982 417 45 520 292 122 83 725 8.73 5.94 23.5% 28.4% 8.0% 57.5%
STL 2009 998 411 44 543 312 112 78 470 6.03 4.20 20.6% 25.0% 7.5% 58.8%
STL 2010 1053 429 34 590 354 82 64 487 7.61 5.94 13.9% 18.1% 5.4% 59.3%
STL 2011 1013 409 55 549 292 86 59 460 7.80 5.35 15.7% 20.2% 9.1% 59.6%
TB 2007 975 449 36 490 316 147 103 777 7.54 5.29 30.0% 32.6% 6.8% 53.9%
TB 2008 1045 451 32 562 355 137 98 663 6.77 4.84 24.4% 27.6% 5.4% 56.8%
TB 2009 961 404 33 524 279 94 68 487 7.16 5.18 17.9% 24.4% 5.9% 58.0%
TB 2010 955 431 30 494 306 92 69 518 7.51 5.63 18.6% 22.5% 5.7% 54.9%
TB 2011 966 346 32 588 365 121 93 670 7.20 5.54 20.6% 25.5% 5.2% 64.2%
TEN 2007 1037 543 30 464 288 74 55 362 6.58 4.89 15.9% 19.1% 6.1% 47.6%
TEN 2008 973 508 12 453 265 96 67 457 6.82 4.76 21.2% 25.3% 2.6% 47.8%
TEN 2009 990 499 15 476 271 92 65 596 9.17 6.48 19.3% 24.0% 3.1% 49.6%
TEN 2010 907 406 27 474 273 83 65 386 5.94 4.65 17.5% 23.8% 5.4% 55.2%
TEN 2011 984 376 24 584 353 138 101 713 7.06 5.17 23.6% 28.6% 3.9% 61.8%
WAS 2007 1052 498 29 525 319 116 85 680 8.00 5.86 22.1% 26.6% 5.2% 52.7%
WAS 2008 1026 478 38 510 318 88 64 518 8.09 5.89 17.3% 20.1% 6.9% 53.4%
WAS 2009 970 391 46 533 340 106 84 767 9.13 7.24 19.9% 24.7% 7.9% 59.7%
WAS 2010 1002 351 46 605 349 139 87 752 8.64 5.41 23.0% 24.9% 7.1% 65.0%
WAS 2011 1032 400 41 591 346 120 91 713 7.84 5.94 20.3% 26.3% 6.5% 61.2%
NFL 07-11 160924 70084 5557 85283 51833 16743 12153 95181 7.83 5.68 19.6% 23.4% 6.1% 56.4%

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • PoKey21

    I think Haley times his running plays better than Arians does. With Arians everyone could tell by the formation it was either pass or run. And 3rd and long we would throw a screen. Haley mixes its up better, which leads to him being less predictable, and a better Offense.

  • Grw1960

    I am very much interested to see how Haley designs and implements the new Steelers offense.
    Also how well Ben adapts to it.I worry in the early part of the season that Ben will struggle throwing to the RBs.
    Timing is every thing when throwing outs to the RBs.
    Ben will have to break his own tendency to look down field to long before throwing the shorter passes.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NXON22FQSDCCSA2WHZIRTHQWTU Greig

    Any idea how often Haley used personnel groups, with multiple backs. I’d be curious to see how often he used 21 and 22 personnel.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I could almost name the play ,especially when we were in the 4th quarter, everytime before they lined up…Arians could be very tranparent at times….when he wasnt we would be very successful

  • Jb

    Sir, this article/thought is spot on. But, I am of the thought that the main issue with Arians was not simply his play calling, no! the number one problem was that he became an enabler for Ben. Many have watched Ben play long enough that they should understand that passing down field is his “passion”. Even sometimes, bravely or stupidly, at the cost of his own body. I swear that in some games the only reason Ben throws to running backs is to get the coaches, and fans, off his back… it’s a token gesture. Another example, sure there’s times when a defense of the opposing team can’t cover our TE’s (obviously speaking of Heath Miller here) – but, I place the majority of blame on Ben, for the Steelers TE’s lack of passing opportunities over the years.

    I was surprised after the Pittsburgh loss in their last SB that there were no articles, that I noticed, that spoke to the fact when Ben was throwing those incompletions to Wallace during the Steelers final drive of that game, several times Heath was clearly open underneath. Now a completion to Miller may have been only a 12 yard gain instead of a possible 20 yard advance for Wallace, but the chances of a completion were “much” greater. Of course, Ben is real good, but for him to go to an even higher/greater level as an NFL QB he needs to learn how to be much more consistent in the short passing game. Really sucking in the defenses, before tossing the bomb down field.

    I have always thought that Joe Montana was so great, because he understood this principle. I remember watching those 49′ers teams of the 80″s, and Joe would throw 3, 4, 5 passes to his RB’s or FB’s in a row. Toss in some passes to the TE’s and then “BOOM” big pass down field to a receiver. He did this time and time again. I hope the Steelers new OC realizes this and can have success helping BR to do the same.

  • JAMESH

    What he said.

  • Frankthebuc

    Haley’s offense is going to make the offensive line look like pro bowlers. Arians scheme put a lot of pressure on the offensive line and made them look bad. Steeler fans are about to see first hand just how important an offensive line friendly scheme is to the performance of the line.

    Offensive Linemen are simply not as important as people want to believe. The offensive scheme and play calling can make a line look good or bad. RB, QB, TE and WR are where you need to put your money.

    I correctly predicted last year that the Steelers would suffer injuries on the defensive line. This year those injuries are coming to the WR’s and Cb’s. Just watch.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ESU2VFZHEUTQEPJ7AWSN7ODBPQ Emac2

    That extra 7% is even bigger then it seem when it represents a 50% increase in throws to running backs (21% vs 14%)

    The fact the league is at about 20%, Haley is at 21% and the Steelers are at 14% means the title probably should have been about Haley bringing a little more normalcy to the Steelers offence. The only outlier in the equation is the Steelers.

  • SteelersDepot

    You can predict injuries? What about lottery numbers?

  • dgh57

    How will both Rainey and Batch be used in Haleys offense? Both seem like similar backs.
    When Batch was drafted I thought he was the back they throw to after Moore was gone. Now
    we have Rainey. Then of course the other backs.

    Great article! Gives me hope for a improved offense this season and makes me even more anxious for this season to START!!!

  • SteelersBall

    Interesting article. I am more interested in what the championship teams do as opposed to what all the teams do on average. In other words, attempting to be like the average team is not a good idea (I know you are not suggesting that). If there are 3 WR, 1 TE, and 1Rb = 5 ball catchers then equal distribution is 20% each. So the RB get 20 % of the catches plus the touches when running the ball. Seems to me that throwing the ball 20% of the time to the RBs is too much, given that the RB also run the ball. Wonder what the league average is for running backs touching the ball (catches and runs). Ditto for the championship teams concerning how often their RB touch the ball. Maybe there is no difference between the winners and losers.

  • JAY STEW

    I BLAME BEN AND ARIENS FOR THE STEELERS POOR GAME MANAGEMENT ALSO BEN IS A JOCK AND NOT A STUDENT OF THE GAME

  • Wdmason

    Maybe our backs can catch more passes if they arent needed to block on every play.

  • Dave

    No guarantee that Batch makes the final 53, IMO.

  • SteelersBall

    Yes that Seems reasonable

  • PoKey21

    Good thoughts JB, I do believe Heath does need to be utilized more. Good thoughts about Ben. And I think it may be a potential issue between him and Haley. at least a few ruffled feathers.

    Not only has Miller been underutilized, I believe we have wasted a lot of Mendenhalls talents also. When he came into the league he was only 20. We had him running up the middle instead of throwing a swing pass to him or even letting him run a route. When or if he did Ben never got him the ball. Hi first 3 years in the league (excluding his rookie year) his reception total has went down. In 2009, his first full year he had 260 receiving yards with a 10YPC! both stats decreased in 2010 and 2011.

  • Jprankster2005

    This is why I think we can be a better team with Haley, Less QB sacks….. And that number should def. drop with the OL we got now….. And I think Rainey and Batch if healthy can make some big plays…… I can’t wait till the season……. I was wondering in Haley’s offense did they use a FB much? Just wondering if our FB will even make the team……. I like the TE’s would of loved a more of an upgrade like Fleener or Egnew but they added a TE so that’s all that matters and one that can block as well…….

  • Jprankster2005

    Wallace better get that long term contract before he get’s injured then lol….. Any player can have a season ending injury at anytime…… It’s just the nature of the game…… Especially CBs with ACL’s and Knee and Achilles injurys… Because they plant there feet alot and sometimes it’s just the wrong way…… As well as WR and all RB’s and mostly all positons…. But I don’t know how u can predict something…. That’s just stupid

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