Todd Haley Understands In Retrospect Why Bill Belichick Yelled At Him So Much With Jets

If there is anybody on the Pittsburgh Steelers that knows a bit about the New England Patriots’ mastermind, Bill Belichick, then it would have to be their offensive coordinator, Todd Haley. To the best of my knowledge, he is the only person among both players and coaches who has anything more than a passing working relationship with him.

Three players—Mike Hilton, Xavier Grimble, and L.J. Fort—have had a cup of coffee with the Patriots during the offseason or on the practice squad, but none of them were with the team for more than a week or two. Haley, however, coached with Belichick for a few years while both were with the Jets.

The two overlapped during their coaching tree in the late 90s. Belichick, a year removed from a failed head-coaching stint with the Browns after a very successful run as defensive coordinator for the Giants, took over as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the other New York franchise in 1997, a position he held for three seasons.

Haley, in the meantime, began his coaching career with the Jets. He was a scouting assistant for two years beginning in 1997, and then found himself a rookie coach when Belichick came in during the 1997 season, heading up the wide receivers. Haley was there all throughout the latter’s tenure.

And he only learned to appreciate in hindsight why he got yelled at so much, he told Ray Fittipaldo.

I had a coach screaming at me that he lined up one yard outside numbers instead of two, and I’m like, ‘what the hell is the difference?’”, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter. One of Haley’s responsibilities was to run the scout team offense, so you can understand why they would be Belichick’s concern as defensive coordinator.

“It tells you why he’s been one of the best coaches in the league”, Haley said. “And why some coaches are good coaches and some guys aren’t so good. It’s the details and continuing to harp and push. Sometimes it involves a little yelling and screaming to make guys understand”.

Having gotten the opportunity to work with and watch how Belichick coaches up close for those three seasons, the Steelers’ offensive coordinator believes he has a relatively good grasp on how his Patriots defenses like to attack a team like his.

“They worry about the people they think can beat them”, he said. “That’s why it comes down to other guys making plays. That’s just the way it is and the way it always has been”. And not that it has ever been a secret. During Belichick’s second Super Bowl loss to the Giants, he was captured basically saying they have to make the Giants depend on somebody like Mario Manningham to win. And they did. And he did.

Haley believes they are capable of taking two players away. You would think that those two players will be Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. So others like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Martavis Bryant, and Jesse James will have to make plays this evening.

About the Author

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

    Don’t count on MB. He checked out awhile back when the fan base crucified him for speaking his mind.

  • Jaybird

    I’m seeing another big day for JJames. I think we will attack the middle of the field big time today.

  • EdJHJr

    Maybe they can check AB,, and maybe stop the run a bit, but it will be hard to contain passing to Bell

  • Steve

    He checked out when he realized he wasn’t the next Moss like the media portrayed him to be. Another spoiled diva thinking something is owed to him without putting in the work. Spent a year away from the game because of selfish acts. Came back expecting to be the man. Far from. Young man needs to get his head right

  • pittfan


  • pittfan

    Stop. I hope HE doesn’t shuck responsibility off on others like you’ve been doing. He’ll never improve if thats the case.

  • LifeUhhFindsAWay

    I like the matchup of Bell running the ball vs their front seven. It’s hard to see them taking that away, especially with Hightower out. They just need to control the clock and score TDs instead of FGs.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Do you know why I yell at you so much haley? Its because you’re predictable as a coach, you get too cute at times and you’re a mountain of everything gobshite outside of football.

  • James

    I think MB has been part of a huge ruse, and he has a “breakout” game.

  • francesco

    He checked out when he heard the die hard fan base crucifying him and his girlfriend for stating what was obvious. What was obvious is that Haley had no game plan for MB and still doesn’t and Ben cannot throw straight except to AB who has to make tip toe catches game in and game out. If you want to criticize MB for not being elite like AB i give you that but who in the league compares to AB.

  • Steve

    I’m not comparing him to AB. And why doesn’t Haley have a game plan for him? It sure isn’t because Ben can’t throw straight. I have no idea what you have been watching but MB has A LOT of drops this year. That is not on the QB. MB has been sloppy all year. He’s mentally not in the game

  • westcoasteeler

    I don’t think Ben trusts Bryant with all his drama as of late. If Juju can run he’ll pick up where James can’t. Eli has to come up huge on 3rd down. Pats D is very vulnerable. I also don’t think they have the secondary to contain AB. We have to stack TDs! Go Steelers!!!

  • dany

    Rogers has been neutered since that fumble in the afc championship. Good day for him to exorcise those demons and really become that #4 receiver but I won’t be holding my breath

  • Following_Christ

    That would be a great game plan, but I find it unlikely to believe that MB would agree to devalue himself during what is basically a “contract season”.

  • Following_Christ

    Game plan for MB?
    Run really fast, then run even faster AFTER catching the ball.
    Many of Ben’s passes have been off, but I’ve watched MB either give up on tough catches or look like he’s trying to catch them with his eyes closed.

  • Quan Hurst

    MB still the second best WR on the team BB has missed ALOT of throws to him if he makes those throws today im predicting A BLOWOUT #BURGH

  • James

    Unless they made a promise to take care of him, which they have already by keeping him on the roster.

    Wheels within wheels.

  • pittfan

    you stated he checked out. i didnt think so but being his #1 cheerleader, i guess you know best. shame on him for that because he had much of the season still to play. if its true, i hope they ship him off. i hope youre wrong.

  • WB Tarleton

    It’s not a ruse (we agree) but it has nothing to do with being a contract season. We have him in 2018.

  • WB Tarleton

    Nonsense. He has been playing hard. Watch the effort he puts into blocking.

    Not playing well is not always a case of “checking out.”

  • John

    Ben cannot throw straight except to AB? Are you kidding? He threw for 500 yards last week. Over half were to others. He has also played great for the last many weeks. Like any QB, he throws better to receivers that get open and have a clue how to position themselves. We don’t have many of those and not having McDonald is a loss. JJSS looks like a solid WR, but he is a rookie and is banged up. These are the games where the fact that Rogers, Hunter, etc. have failed to step up are huge problems along with not having a back other than Bell that we use. Coates might actually catch a few passes in this one if we still had him. Let’s hope for the best though.

  • John

    And do we ever do anything on offense that is a useful trick play or something that creates a surprise TD? Like in the Whisenhunt/Mularkey days?

  • John

    Any chance in the offseason we have interest in Wheaton on a discount contract? His big money move to Chicago has been a disaster so I don’t know how many other clubs will have interest. His injuries are an issue but playing as a fourth WR will allow him to stay healthier. Just thinking for the future.

  • David Shoff

    The key is moving ab around and putting him next to guys in the slot.

  • dany

    I wouldn’t be shocked! It’s funny, yesterday he got his 2nd and 3rd catches of the year. He’s a surefire bet to be cut, and his path to a minimum contract on the steelers is open

  • nutty32

    Looking for them to try to pound AB & key 26. There’s a great nfl films about the Giants – Bills super bowl and it’s Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed repeat.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    BB is a master at taking away your strength on O and killing your weakness on D. Look for a heavy dose of backs…Dion Lewis out of the backfield and doubling AB under on D. If the Steelers were smart they’d motion AB to get him in single coverage and if the Pats rotated S’s over the top then you open crosses over the middle for JJ & the Outlaw.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I always liked Whisenhunt.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Not sure but I think next year is his contract year

  • 2winz

    he has no excuse, he came back before Josh Gordon who was away for at least 2 years and yet Gordon is ballin, and bryant just hasnt been the same. maybe its the weight gain or maybe its the fact that Gordon is just that good. When Gordon was playing.. I thought he was the best wide receiver in the league and then the suspensions happened. Gordon still has the talent though so Bryant just needs to step it up. I believe its just a matter of effort and the little details he needs to work on

  • StolenUpVotes

    I see us investing another draft pick into that position. 4-7 rounds. That kid will probably push Eli off the roster

  • The thing about MB and Ben–as I saw it and still do–is they’ve been out-of-sync all season. Ben missed some opportunities with MB through under-thrown or over-thrown passes. MB had some bad drop and–even worse–some plays he either gave up on, made little effort, or had his head up his butt. Simple truth. The bottom line is that Ben no longer trusts him and MB really looks [to me] like he’s playing with a ‘so what, like it or lump it’ attitude. Re this critical game? If MB pulls through the first time or two Ben throws to him–provided its a catch-able ball–Ben will go back to him. If MB gives the slightest hint in his initial targets of not finishing the route, of not attacking the ball, or of not being mentally focused, i.e., a bad drop or running the wrong route, I fully expect Ben to forget he exists for the rest or the game. We’ll see whether MB can rise above himself today and again be the elite WR weapon who can shape the course of games and win them.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    rarely. the only thing i can think of in last few years was the fake spike and fake punt. well that paid off anyways. hes tried some other stupid stuff that didnt work.

  • Alan Tman

    My only complaint about the whole game is MB10 makes a wonderful catch in the red zone, and at the end of the game you have Rogers, Juju and DHB out there!! Really???