Former Steelers Safety Will Allen Says Some Offensive Players Never Drank The Kool-Aid Last Season

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.

  • Chris92021

    He’s absolutely right. I don’t think Mike Wallace totally bought into it….still, the team was looking great until Big Ben got injured and he came back less than healthy. I still think we all need to calm down before starting to throw rocks at Haley like we did against Arians. If the offense sputters again this season, then Haley is fair game.

  • Jollyrob68

    In the Beginning I don’t think Ben was on board. Then Ben was doing Great and being talked about as League MVP. Once he got hurt he felt the pressure and reverted back to the old Ben. Holding onto the ball,taking them out of field goal range trying to him the big play. The need to be on board this year or make changes. And the change won’t be with The OC if The QB doesn’t evolve and follow the plan.

  • Jollyrob68

    Let me be the first to say that if Ben doesn’t follow script I can see him being traded at the end of the season.IF HE DOESN’T FOLLOW HAYLE’S SCRIPT!

    I for one would trade Ben this year(or next) to TAmpa for 1st rd #13(2013 draft), Josh Freeman,Gerald McCoy & Next years 2nd. I’m sure Tampa will throw in Legarrette Blount to get rid of him.
    Start Fresh with someone who’s going to follow the plan. Josh Freeman 25, Ben R 31. I’ll take the trade.
    Plus contact The Rams for Rodger Saffold and the line will be set.

  • SteelersDepot

    So you would trade a QB that will cost you $13.59 milion in dead money next season? Yeah, that makes a WHOLE lot of sense. Franchise QBs just grown on trees, I suppose.

  • SteelersDepot

    I am also curious to hear how the Buccaneers will trade Freeman when he is not even under contract in 2014. I hate to be so hard on you people, but you really need to research your ludicrous ideas more. Stay off Madden a little while.

  • Michael Mazanowski


  • mghjr88

    this is hilarious

  • SteelSpine

    Hahaha, this is fun stuff, especially if you’re not kidding. I even like the icing on the cake being Steelers would want a slugger RB whom you said his 2nd team would do about anything to get rid of.

  • alex

    the loss of our #1 ‘young money’ WR and the addition of a veteran WR coach should lead to more focus…just wish we hadnt lost Allen…a veteran and leader that we could ill afford to lose…

    who on offense can play this role? Pouncey for the OL and who else? Cotch?

  • WilliamSekinger

    From the perspective of the entire season the defense more than held up their end. That said, I can think of at least two games where if the defense was playing anywhere near a college football program’s level the Steelers would have been 10-6 and in the playoffs instead of 8-8. Now, to be fair the same can also be said of the offense. The bottom line was the defense was an 8-8 defense, no better, no worse. If football is a team game, why even attempt to place blame on the offensive side of the ball?

    I think the defense was definitely hitting their stride at the end of the season while the offense was slumping. At the beginning of the season the offense was getting it done and the defense stunk.

  • David Edward

    I assume this comment was intended to be a joke. Otherwise you might be that guy in fantasy football who would trade Aaron Rodgers for Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson, and Scott.Chandler just because you got 3 guys for 1. Everyone knows you never trade away an elite franchise QB.

  • David Edward

    Ben has to be the leader, it’s basically his team like Brady is to the Pats and Peyton was to the Colts. Allen’s comments seem to point directly at Wallace which makes sense, but now he’s gone and I think Sanders will be too next year as a UFA…if not this year to the Pats. Most likely they will be bringing in a young WR via the draft at some point. It’s important that Ben gets to the rookie right away and let’s him know that if you want to be a diva and be rich go to another team…if you want to be a Super Bowl champ and be rich be a team player in Pittsburgh.

  • zipposteelers

    Wallace admitted he Lost concentration when he wasn’t getting the ball.
    Imagine a player saying that under Cowhers watch,,He would have and should have been riding the pine until he got released or traded. Wallass is a better name..
    also mendenstall he didnt show up for a game he should have been released or benched outright. Is this the great Tomlin managing this team?? Steelers are going to waste Big ben’s last years with this well spoken idiot. This team is going to regress to the point where Cowher came in and motivated players above their ability.

    I remember the days of losing records and they are again on the horizon.

    Tomlin was given the keys to a Superbowl caliber team, he rode them to a SB win. doesn’t take a legendary coach to win when your handed a SB team.

  • hergieburbur

    I do think Ben and Wallace were the two worst offenders as far as not buying into the offense. But no way in hell would, or should, they trade Ben. That is jsut dumb.

  • hergieburbur

    “Ben has to be the leader, it’s basically his team like Brady is to the Pats and Peyton was to the Colts.”

    And that scares me, because he seems to be as divisive as he is a leader.

  • rizzo29

    I think you been sipping back grandpa,s cough medicine a little to long there

  • rizzo29

    Thank you finally someone who know,s what your talking about

  • charles

    Allen only said what we already knew. That was that an incredible amount of injuries, an offense that was only slowly maturing, and that Mike “Wallass” Wallace was only in it for himself. There was no “team” in him and I guess that explains Colbert’s handling of him and Antonio Brown. Has Saunders put his own foot so deep into his mouth that he is a waste of a roster spot as well?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Makes perfect sense to me.

  • You must remember that the Off helps the Def. by controlling the TOP and keeping the Def. off the field and fresh and though I’m far from being a Ben supporter he can only improve under Haley’s system because it will keep him off the turf and healthy, he will no doubt develop into a fine field general. The 8-8 season was caused by multiple reasons, OL injuries, non existent ST coaching, a drop off on receiver play, the misuse of MW’s speed, MT playing Ben when he was hurt (two years in a row), the learning curve w/ a new Off scheme (players learning system and coach learning proper use of players) all this is a recipe for organized chaos and even as such we were only 1-2 wins from a playoff birth, plus w/ all that we still beat the SB champs w/ a third string QB. This season 10-6, go Steelers- Hoorah!

  • SteelerFanInMD

    I don’t think Ben’s injury was the only reason the team did poorly upon his return. Teams started to adjust to the Steelers short passing game by playing closer to the line. I think the Steelers were trying to adjust to the defensive adjustments with more downfield passing after Ben got hurt. With Leftwich then Batch starting then Ben again, I don’t think the offense was able to find the groove with the changes they were making. Plus, Mike Wallace not focusing didn’t help the situation.

  • Ahmad

    So far I think Allen has given the most accurate answer. However, there had to have been some conflict on the defense judging by what that player said about Woodley.

  • John A Stewart


  • David Edward

    That could be, but as a franchise QB he has to be a unifying force…and as head coach Tomlin has to ensure that it happens.

  • richard

    Are you for real? Tomlin is a far better coach than Cowher. How many AFC HOME championship games did we lose under Cowher – Chargers, Broncos, Patriots? Cowher had players like Gregg Lloyd, Kevin Greene, Levon Kirkland, Rod Woodson, Carnell Lake, Chad Brown, Dermoni Dawson, Barry Foster, Yancy Thigpen. Cowher had all of these elite players, but could not win one Super Bowl with them. Cowher held on too long to Kordell Stewart, who should have been cut years before he was released. When Cowher finally won a Super Bowl after 15 years, some people say there were some shady calls made in that Super Bowl against the Seahawks. If Cowher was such an awesome coach, why isn’t he in the league now? Don’t get it twisted, Cowher inherited a Super Bowl caliber team from Chuck Knoll, and he could not get the Steelers a Lombardi until the year before he retired. Tomlin got us one by his second year, and another SB appearance by his fourth year. If you like spittle when he talks, the chin, and losing home AFC championship games, then Cowher is your man. In my book, Cowher cannot hold a candle to Tomlin. Tomlin has accomplished in five years what it took Cowher to do in 15. You do the math.

  • mokhkw

    “Cowher inherited a SB caliber team from Chuck Knoll” is way off base. Are you getting it twisted with Cowher to Tomlin? Tomlin inherited a team which had won a SB 2 years previously, Cowher inherited a team which hadn’t won anything for over a decade. I wouldn’t be so fast to say that Tomlin is better than Cowher, both have made questionable calls & decisions – shit, even that Hoodie Guy in New England gets knocked for play calls and personnel moves sometimes.

  • PUZZ

    Could not agree more Richard,,,this perception that Tomlin took over a great team from Cowher is bullshit..That team was team was 8-8 and was a mess,,,I liked both coaches,but people foget that Mike Tomlin is a baby in this profession,,and the man has won 2 AFC titles and been to 2 superbowls in 6 these to Cowhers first 6 years…I think Tomlin is still learning,but he is a sharp dude,and will learn from his mistakes..To his advantage though he has Ben,Cowher had him for 2 years and won a superbowl in year 2,,,,I loved boh coaches,and both were in the upper echelon in their profession,,,Mike T is an unfinished product,and given the right guys and a healthy #7,I think he will be revered as among the best in many years to come….Lets remember that the GENIUS Belicheck is 0 for the last 8 years….PATIENCE PEOPLE PATIENCE!!

  • PUZZ

    Divisive??,,,Sorry,no way..Ben is a great QB and like all the great ones he is stubborn and has an ego…That comes with success,I do agree less whining and worrying about the OC being Haley and not ARIANS,will help..Ben is so talented and gifted that he should be able to do anything that he asked to do by whomever…Just never saddle him,or restrict him in being the big play guy that has put him in 3 superbowls,,,Dont think that is Haleys intention,he wants to keep hom healthy,and ubtil the freak KC injury,he was,and playing extremely well…

  • PUZZ

    Well there about 27 teams that wish they had that JOCK!! Where have you been for the last 9 years,the guy has 2 Lombadi trophys,and 3 AFC Championships..and plays with injuries that most guys would take 4 weeks to even put on a uniform….If you dont like the guy fine,but to ? this guys leadership is just stupid!! Ask his teammates or opponents like Ray Lewis,Ed Reed,and Terell Suggs what they think of Ben

  • hergieburbur

    So the reports of feuds between Ben and Ward were nothing? The reports in various years that numerous players on the defense had a problem with him were nothing? I am not saying he is a cancer, but he has caused issue in the locker room that a leader should not be causing.

  • Calm down guys, I understand your frustration with this past season and and what has and hasn’t happened this off-season. It’s easy to question the coach after a 8-8 season and a season which the Ravens won the Super Bowl (A Perfect Storm). This team has been decimated with injuries the past three years and yet they have found a way to win. That’s a testament to the coaching staff. It finally caught up with them last year. The team has gotten older and free agency are issues that the Steelers have been forced to address. Let’s all just calm down and let this franchise and management do what they have done so well over the past 43 years.

  • I totally agree. The offense was the problem last season. The offense didn’t compliment what the defense did all year by going a numerous of three and outs on the feild after the defense did their job by stopping the other teams. The guys on defense didn’t have a chance to sit down and rest long enough as the offense was punting back to the other team. It is also evident that it was the offense’s fault because the defense finish #1 total defense in the league whereas the offense couldn’t manage to put up enough points to win the game. You can’t expect the defense to shut every team down but they done their job. The offense just didn’t help out enough.

  • Clint Martin

    Thigpen elite LMAO, Foster LOL these players are just another player in a team sport. most of these players went to new teams and did nothing.Only woodson,Greene, and Dawson from your list would be considered Elite.

  • rizzo29

    He,s not in the league now because his wife died of cancer and he wanted to be with his daughters, smartin up

  • Ronk25

    Allen has it exactly right – I just hope someone in that Steelrs hierarchy is paying attention. The Steelers made a huuuuuuuge error in hiring Heley and that pitiful offense – which came from the absolute worst team in the NFL / KC. The only thing worse than the system was Haley’s play calling. Adrian Petersen or Marshawn Lynch couldn;t have possibly succeeded in the chicken sxxx offense. The Steeler that needs to be fired is the guy who hired Haley. The Steelers hierarchy needs to wake up & smell the roses.

  • The problem was with Rooney and Arians and that trickled down to the locker room.
    Now you can go back and forth with the who the problem child was but you will see in the near future that when you have 2 1000 yard WRs, a 1000 yard RB,and a QB with 4000 and that drops with the new coordinator there were going to be questioning.
    They said they were going to “help” Ben with the new offense but you shackle him with dink and dunk?
    Ben is 31 years old ,took you to 3 Super Bowls, won you 2 yet you are not going to give him help?
    It’s also mysterious and very Rooney like according to Jerome Bettis’ book that Wallace and Mendenhall saw production drop in contract years.
    Now when we go 6-10 this season the scapegoat will be obvious.

  • PUZZ

    I think you are referencing the way he was after winning the Super Bowl with Cowher and Bettis,I agree with you..,,He was immature and by his own admission he was not the best teammate,That when he was called out by Joey Porter and some other vets,.., That same immaturity eventually led to the off field issues,,So yes,at that stage I agree he was young ,dumb and outta control…But that guy is gone,and everybody who has seen that transformation has acknowledged that the Ben of today is is not the same guy of years past who almost sabotaged his own career,,

  • alex

    totally agree, BEN finally pulled his head out…he has always been a leader by his sheer numbers, and has been someone to get motivated for because he always gives us his best and playing with injury (to our detriment or not)…it just seems like there are clicks in offensive groups that were exacerbated by the ‘young money’ group…i really wanna see the veteran Cotch take a more WARDian role and if our O-line can gel and stay healthy for a change, look out…

  • redneckmuslim

    It is very interesting to hear comments from a smart veteran who was actually inside the locker room and who doesn’t have to worry about saying too much anymore. Allen would have never said all that if he was still on the team. Like Dave said, he doesn’t sound like someone who would take shots at his old team. So I think we just got the real story.

    Based on what he said, I think the ownership really did underestimate the impact of losing all those leaders in the locker room. It ain’t the head coach the players are responding to on game day. It’s guys like Hines and Potsy and Aaron in the huddle before the snap. You make deep playoff runs when you are playing for each other, not the coach. I don’t think it really mattered if it was Cowher or Tomlin coaching last year.

    Identifying new locker room leaders is as important as drafting well or installing the right offense. We need someone the players respect to step up. I’m not sure Ben will ever be that guy. I really hope Pouncey takes on a role like Iron Mike and Dirt had. I love that kid.

  • Madelyn Bryson

    Haley may have just begun the ruin of Rothlesberger’s career.

  • hergieburbur

    Would love to see Cotch take a bigger role both on the field and in the locker room.

  • hergieburbur

    He’s not, I agree, but I still wish he was as much a leader off the field as he is on it. I still have not heard much that leads me to believe that is the case.

  • richard

    Dude…before James Harrison, there was Joey Porter, and before Porter, there was this guy named Gregg Lloyd who was one of the best OLB the Steelers ever had. Remember the Blitzburgh Steelers of the 90’s, where nearly every defensive player on the team was pro-bowl caliber. Barry Foster lost the league’s rushing title to Emmit Smith the year Cowher did not prepare the team and we lost to the Chargers at home in the AFC Championship game. How many coaches have taken their teams to championship games at home and lost them like Cowher? One year Cowher had Barry Foster and Bam Morris…keep in mind Bam Morris had more rushing yards in SB XXX than the Cowboy’s Emmit Smith. Until Cowher won SB XL, he was another Andy Reid…a solid coach who could not win the big game. There is no way you can convince me that the Steelers should not have won at least two Super Bowls in the 90’s with the talent Cowher had…whether O’Donnell, Stewart, or Maddox was the QB. If the Giants did it with Hostetler, the Redskins did it with Rypien, and the Ravens did it with Dilfer…Cowher should have done it with the QBs he had. Furthermore, Roethlisberger admitted he played poorly in the SB against the Seahawks.

  • richard

    Cowher has been out of coaching since 2007. His wife died two years ago. His daughters are either adults or in college. What is he doing…waiting until they get married? You smart’n up…Cowher does not want to return to coaching. He has been offered some superb opportunities, but he has rejected them all. Cowher knows that he was one lucky year from being considered a Marty Schottenheimer or Andy Reid or Jeff Fisher – solid coaches who could not win the big games. SB XL saved him from being in that category, and he is not about to jeopardize that by returning to the NFL to never win another SB.

  • richard

    Dude! Cowher lost four AFC Championship games at home! Other than Andy Reid, who does that? You attribute that to either bad luck or bad coaching. How many AFC Championship games has Tomlin lost? Yes, Cowher inherited a SB caliber Team from Chuck Knoll. Gregg Lloyd, Rod Woodson (HOF), Carnell Lake, Barry Foster, Neil O’Donnell, Dermontti Dawson (HOF), Ernie Mills were drafted by Knoll, and all started on the team the year the Steelers lost (at home) to the San Diego Chargers under the leadership of Bill Cowher. And all, except Foster, started in SB XXX, lost to the Cowboys.

  • JDR

    woodley was fat and slow and out of shape to be an OLB the last 2 seasons. he was a couple cheese burgers away from playing NT… Kirkland ate himself out of LB to finish his career as a NT for the Eagles.
    without Harrison and Hampton… we have better personnel to be a 4-3(especially if they cant add a real pass rusher threat at OLB) right now as the roster is today we’d be better off in a 4-3, we have more and better DL than LB’s, you need a lot of good LB’s to pull off the current defense, in which we are lacking, heck…we just need some more and better LB’s period.
    we dont have a Hampton type on the roster, which is also needed for the Steeler 3-4…our DL could kick some serious ass in a 4-3…move Worlids to DE, same with Woodley, and keep a rotation going.. only 1 guy to block Keisel? not happening, Heyward and Hood would go from average to good, and then there’s McClendon… hope they start working in some 4-3 fronts ocasionally, mix things up, like the purple browns and the pats*

  • JDR


  • richard

    “IT’S”, not ITS! You were trying to say it + is, which should be written ” it’s ” as a contraction. Instead you used its, which is a possessive pronoun. Cannot stop laughing at the irony…

  • rizzo29

    Dick, family comes first for him,you ask why he,s not coaching, that,s why, think before you post your crap on here.

  • walter mason

    Its hard to win it all without a quarterback. How far do you think Tomlin would go? Yes I know I didnt type a contraction and I also omitted a comma after yes..

  • walter mason


  • walter mason

    Ha Ha

  • walter mason

    Maybe it was an OFFENSIVE coach that spoke out against Woodley.

  • JDR

    laugh away nerd…a fan of the steelers should know the name and spelling of their greatest coach and the only coach to win 4 superbowls

  • richard

    I AM laughing away. Here you are trying to correct Richard when you cannot use correct grammar that was taught in the 3rd grade. In order to be a Steelers fan, you SHOULD know basic grammar (it’ll get you farther in life than will knowing the correct spelling of my name).
    Charles Henry Noll

  • JDR

    whatever Dick