Todd Haley puts Pittsburgh Steelers' offense on notice
- By Kevin Patra
- Around the League writer
- Published: Sept. 20, 2013 at 09:52 a.m.
- Updated: Sept. 20, 2013 at 12:35 p.m.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' anemic offense must play better in order to avoid an 0-3 start to the season. You know that, we know that and the Steelers know that.
"I'm not happy with anything right now," offensive coordinator Todd Haley said Thursday, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
There is little Haley could even pretend to be pleased with. His offense ranks near the bottom in almost every statistical category. His starting running back, Le'Veon Bell, hasn't played a regular season down, though he was a full participant in practice on Thursday. His starting center, Mike Pouncey, suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1 that has left the team "shell-shocked," according to NFL Media's Mike Silver.
On top of that, Haley denied a report that receiver Antonio Brown confronted him during Monday night's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Making matters worse, Brown later confirmed the confrontation to the Post-Gazette, leaving Haley with pie on his face.
Haley seemingly has been under fire since signing in Pittsburgh two years ago, and now he's putting everyone on notice.
"Those guys know it, our guys up front know it, our receivers know it," Haley said. "To have an efficient run game, we need to do a better job across the board."
Questions regarding Haley's play calling have frustrated players and fans in Pittsburgh. Hall of Fame running back and NFL Media analyst Marshall Faulk, on Thursday's "M&M Podcast," blamed the Steelers' struggles on the relationship between Haley and his starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger.
"I believe Todd Haley has it," Faulk said. "He understands defenses, he knows how to call plays. He took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. He was that offensive coordinator with Kurt Warner. There is a disconnect with he and Ben Roethlisberger, and that disconnect is so glaring, so glaring that somebody is gonna have to say something."
Roethlisberger said in the offseason that he was happy with where the offense was headed, but his on-field play and demeanor belies those statements.
It might not matter how many hand-holding sessions Haley and Big Ben have if the Steelers players don't adopt the "next man up" strategy and rise to Haley's challenge.