Todd Haley: ‘I Don’t Think We’ve Played Our Best Ball Offensively’

I don’t think I would be stepping out of line if I were to suggest that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense underwhelmed during the first half of the 2017 regular season. The team as a whole is averaging just 20.9 points per game, 20th in the league, and you can take a full point off of that thanks to a defensive touchdown and a safety if you want to factor in only the offense.

The Steelers have been held to under 20 points three times this season, and have only bettered the 25-point mark three times. They have not his 30 points scored in a game—their previous benchmark for success that they have since abandoned—even once.

There are a number of contributing factors. The offensive line has had to round into form, and has, frankly, faced some tough opponents, including a number 4-3 fronts that they have a tougher time with. New and returning pieces have been an issue as well.

But at the end of the day, the Steelers are 6-2, tied for the best record in the conference. And for offensive coordinator Todd Haley, “the number one thing is winning”, he told reporters yesterday. Because of course it is. You play to win the game!

“I don’t think we’ve played our best ball offensively”, he admitted, “but we’re in good position. The second half of the season”, he said, will hopefully see “things…really get rolling”. And that will have to include quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger, statistically, is having one of the worst seasons of his career by a comfortable margin, on pace for just 20 touchdowns passes and 18 interceptions, even though he is, oddly, in the top five in passing yards temporarily because the Steelers have not had their bye week yet.

This team, and this offense, however, is not new to adversity by any means. That can simply recall the struggle of the middle of last season when they lost four games in a row. Haley was asked about how his players deal with adversity.

“Same as it always is. We’ve got a resilient group, the majority of whom have been here for an extended period of time. We’ve been through ups and downs. All of us that were here last year know what the perception was when we lost four in a row and there was unwavering focus from the group”.

While there have certainly been some notable chinks in the armor in that regard—let’s just say it, basically Martavis Bryant creating, in Mike Tomlin’s words, “somewhat of a distraction” Haley believes in his players. “We’ve got a good group of guys that stick together and that I think don’t try to be too affected by outside noise”, he said.

The group will collectively try to make some noise during the second half of the season, building off a three-game winning streak in which the passing and rushing offense have both had intermittent success. Maybe at one point over the course of the next eight weeks they will manage to put together one of those ‘complete games’ we hear about.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Oh boy here we go – queue the hate!!!

  • Steeler Nation!

    I think it will be better in the 2nd half, as long as Gilbert comes back ready to roll and we stay relatively injury free. How many years running have we gotten hot in the 2nd half and played our best ball? Ben will play better. His stats aren’t great, but they’re just that-stats. Has had multiple TDs dropped over the last few games, and multiple INTs that are on the WRs. He still has to clean up the bad plays that were on him. And get Bryant going. He’s pulled some DA shtuff, but we’ll be a lot more explosive if we can get the ball in his hands 6-7 times a game.

  • treeher

    Only thing I would add to that is some improved play calling.

  • NickSteelerFan

    Can’t wait to watch this team start to click in the second half. Also, love this picture!

  • Wayne Padgett

    Steelers are 6-2 in part thanks to their great defensive play. Over the years Pittsburgh had one of the better pass offenses and weak defensive play. Now it’s the other way around and they actually have a better receiving core than last year. It will get better as the young guys and Bryant play better in the 2nd half. If they remain relatively healthy they have a good shot at going far.

  • Anthony Palmerston

    Todd Haley with the understatement of the year.

  • Brian Miller

    Understatement of the year…

  • Stairway7

    Time to design some new plays that take advantage of all the offensive weapons on this team.

  • Stairway7

    Looks like he’s practicing his downfield blocking technique.

  • Grant Humphrey

    Have they played up to their potential? No. But is it too late to reach that potential? Absolutely not there’s still time to get there.

  • Av232

    I think the offensive coaching staff will get them scoring some TDs in the second half of the season.

    I’m going into my bunker now…

  • Intense Camel

    “In part”, is an understatement. The defense has carried this this team.

  • EdJHJr

    You know it seems like a combo receivers not getting open, Ben not seeing them open, drops, passing when they should be running, wrong routes. Not that it happens all the time but each situation happens at the exact wrong time.

  • Lambert58

    I was in full-on Hate mode against Haley earlier in the season, but he’s been calling some better games of late. Hoping he can keep making good adjustments in the second half and not be so predictable and uncreative.

  • lyke skywalker

    Took him half a season to realize.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    The Steelers do tend to round into better form in the second half of the season, however..

    While there have been a couple of games where the offense looked good, it has hardly hit on all cylinders and, frankly, looks out of rhythm and out of sync pretty regularly.

    Though blame can fairly be spread around, it falls to the coaches to have players on the same page with game plan and execution.

    As always, good timing for a bye.

  • LucasY59

    Thank you Captain (OC) Obvious… (and only Coach T is sposed to use the word “obviously”)

    I dont even blame Haley for them not performing up to their potential on O, he might be part of the problem, but isnt the main reason. its a combination of things and hopefully it all gets figured out before the playoffs

  • David Shoff

    I think Ben is really missing heath. I don’t think he’s been the same since he retired. Ben really only has ab and juju to depend on. He needs that 3rd receiver that he can count on.

  • Ichabod

    “I don’t think we’ve played our best ball offensively” used as an example in Webster’s under the definition of “understatement”

  • ThatGuy

    Probably in the minority but I think Ben comes out guns blazing after this bye week.

  • ThatGuy

    Honestly no better game to come back from a bye to than Indy at home. A team we have decimated the last few times.

  • ThatGuy

    Agreed. I’d rather them be clicking in January than October.

  • Joe

    Thanks, Captain Obvious! Now go out and do a better job!!!

  • pittfan

    Haley would have been a much better OC if guys had hung onto easy TDs, Oline had not missed blocks, Martay and Mr 15,000,000 had been in camp, penalties had not killed drives AND Ben hit open receivers. Instead, he’s a crappy play caller. Hope he cleans it up.

  • J.

    “I don’t think we’ve played our best ball offensively”, he admitted

    I may be being a bit dramatic but that may be the understatement of the year. Hopefully when the playoffs roll around we will be hitting on all cylinders.

  • J.

    It hasnt hurt that they have played mostly cupcake Quarterbacks.

  • Intense Camel

    Those cupcake Qb’s have put up just as many points as our hof Qb so there’s that.

  • Ralph Wagner

    Todd Haley: ‘I Don’t Think We’ve Played Our Best Ball Offensively.

    I certainly hope not. LOL

    Go Steelers

  • charles

    The piece missing is Ben completing long balls. That would realign his stats while keeping safeties way out of the box. Obviously Bell would also benefit. And Marti would take his position in maybe the best receiving corps that the NFL has ever seen…

  • MC

    Came here to read the captain obvious/understatement of the year comments.

  • Milton Farfara

    Not gonna hate on Haley but his new nickname in my eyes is now Captain Obvious. Let’s hope the offense can solve even half their issues and Ben can get back to the level we expect and have seen him perform at and there should be no one that can stop this team all the way to the Superbowl.

  • Mark

    Hard to play “our best ball” with the worst OC in the league. Most weapons, STUPID calls and no game plan. Panic mode constantly. Never rhythm.

  • Mark

    He still makes a lot of terrible calls. He is just not good at recognizing defense and adjusting. Pin-the-tail play calls.

  • Mark

    You know, I have been tuff on Tomlin here. I actually feel bad for him, that he doesn’t have the ability to fire Haley. I do wish he was harder on player punishment, but overall, he is solid. I am going to say a prayer to the Steeler Gods that Todd Haley is gone after the O takes a dump in the playoffs and we miss the Superbowl. Hopefully Tomlin will have a new OC for the next 4 years.