Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Will Allen signed with the Dallas Cowboys this past week, and on Saturday, he was a guest on The Weekend Kickoff show on SiriusXM NFL Radio to talk with host Howard David and Amani Toomer.
At the beginning of the interview, Allen, who spent the last three years in Pittsburgh, was asked to talk about what he thought was the Steelers major problem last season, and if there was indeed problems in the locker room.
“I definitely don\’t believe that there was trouble in the locker-room,” said Allen. “I\’ll tell it as it is. From a defensive side of the ball, we were really tight. We had to be tight because we had so many injuries, especially in the secondary, d-line and outside linebacker position. So when you got a lot of young guys step up, we were depending on the veterans and just the locker-room to be tight.”
Allen didn\’t stop with the defensive side of the ball, however.
“Offensively, there may have been a little, I wouldn\’t even say division, but just confusion, because just installing a new offense – everybody getting used to it – guys wanting the ball – guys knowing that they\’re going into free agency,” Allen said. “You know how you wide receivers are.
“That\’s really what it came down to, I think. Just getting a better comprehension of the offense, and how coach Haley wanted it to be run, and how they were used to Ben (Roethlisberger) running the offense in previous years, and how successful it was for us then. I just think that there was just a little confusion and guys getting a little antsy, and not really drinking the Kool-Aid. Regardless if you\’re getting the ball or not, you got to drink the Kool-Aid. Football is a total team game, and I think that\’s what kind of happened.”
If you have heard Allen speak in the past, you know that he is a very straight shooter, and at no point during the interview did he appear to have an ax to grind with the Steelers organization.
Allen\’s comments about how players were wanting the ball on offense, players entering their final year under contract, and the confusion due to the new offense are very telling. His statement to Toomer, a former wide receiver himself, about knowing how wide receivers can be, is even more telling.
Allen pretty much said that some players on offense never really bought into the new system of offensive coordinator Todd Haley as well.
In defense of the offense, things seemed to be getting better the few weeks before quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went down injured. Once that happened is when things really started to go south.
So was wide receiver Mike Wallace the biggest problem in the eyes of Allen? Was he trying to say that Roethlisberger never quite fully bought into what Haley was wanting to do offensively? I will leave that to you to decipher that, but the former Steelers safety certainly doesn\’t seem to think that the problems the team had last season were the fault of the defense.