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Steelers Blog

Getting more comfortable in Haley’s offense

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 7, 2013 – 1:16 pm

Receiver Emmanuel Sanders is seeing a difference in the offense this training camp, due in large part to the players feeling more comfortable in Todd Haley’s offensive system in year two.

“It’s progressing,” said Sanders. “We are getting more comfortable with Todd Haley and he is getting more comfortable with us. We are starting to understand where he wants us to be and we understand the offense. Everything is starting to click. My chemistry with Ben (Roethlisberger) is getting better. As an offensive whole we are growing.”

Sanders said there were definitely some growing pains last year with the offense, and they are getting past those now.  

“What do you expect from a first year coach and a new system,” said Sanders. “We tried to keep as much from the previous year, we were trying to get familiar with him and he was trying to get familiar with us.  This year we are trying to take a step forward and I am looking forward to displaying it on the field.”

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Coordinator’s Corner: Haley & LeBeau

Posted by Teresa Varley on October 25, 2012 – 9:15 pm

Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley

What do you like about RB Jonathan Dwyer?
I like that he got 122 yards last week. I think he’s a big back that is pretty nifty with his feet and he’s shown that all through the preseason. We got down a little bit on the fumble early and when we knew he was going to play last week that was kind of mine and Coach Tomlin’s conversation. Let’s not forget we were pretty excited about this guy. It was just good to see him bounce back and take advantage of his opportunity.

Do you notice Dwyer gaining confidence?
They are still young guys that haven’t had a lot of NFL carries between all of them but Rashard [Mendenhall]. Any carry they get in a game is an experience they’re building and confidence that they’re gaining. I think when you get it handed to you a handful of times like that he was able to build on each carry and he got stronger as the game went on. That’s what you like to see from big backs, especially.

What do you see in the Redskins defense?
They’ve changed up a little. I used to see them a bunch but they’ve changed up a little bit with Coach [Jim] Haslett. They’re a well-coached group that gives you a lot to deal with. I said to our guys that we know we were having to do a lot more research that a long Tuesday was even longer than normal. That means there’s a lot of looks and blitzes and coverages that you’re trying to sort through and figure out and that makes it a difficult week. They’re active, they’re aggressive, they’re obviously playmakers because the ball seems to end up in their hands a bunch and they do a great job stopping the run. We’ve got our work cut out for us as an offense. We’ve got to come out and play one of our best games.

Has the running back situation sorted itself out at all this week?
I think we’re still kind of in a wait and see mode as far as who’s going to be available and who’s not. Because of how we went into this year, that’s kind of the mode we’ve been in and it’s served us well as far as getting ready for a week like this because nobody blinks now. We’ve been doing it a few months and whoever’s up is up. And, like last week, the guys that were up came in and did a commendable job at what they had to do and we’ve just got to have that continue.

Do you get a kick out of the stories that report there are problems between you and QB Ben Roethlisberger?
In three years of being a head coach I’ve learned to insulate a little bit. I get texts and things and the most important thing to me is what’s happening out here and what’s happening on Sunday and that we’re getting better. Ben is doing a terrific job of leading this offense. The great thing is he can continue to get better along with everybody else and we’ll be cooking with gas, so to speak.

Has Ben taken a lot fewer hits at this point in the season than he had at this time last year?
I watched the tape and that’s something that is at the top of the priority list. He’s the leader of this team and we need to make sure that he’s protected as much as we can protect him. He’s done a really good job with running the offense. Teams know what we’re about and if they’re taking away the deep stuff, he’s done a great job of finding the guys that are open on each and every pass play. We’ve got a bunch of guys that can run with it after the catch at all positions. When it’s been there, he’s taken shots and we’ve made some big plays. Like I’ve said all along, I’m not worried about the big plays. I think when they’re there we’ll get them and hopefully we’re at a high percentage of getting them when they’re there for us. At the same time, the quarterback has to make the decisions each and every play and he’s done a terrific job of that.

Was Sunday’s game what you want to see out of Willie Colon at the guard position?
With Willie, it was going to be a learning curve going inside for the first time. We knew that each and every game he was in there and each and every practice he was going to continue to get experience and get more and more comfortable. I thought that there were some great examples of him getting more and more comfortable with his job in there and he was a big part of us being able to do a lot of things we did.

Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau

Re: Play of RGIII:
He’s doing pretty well up here in the NFL. He’s going to be quite the challenge. He’s a great athlete. He can run. He’s a much better passer than those running-type quarterbacks. We will have our hands full but we are looking forward to the challenge.

Re: The stat that you are 13-1 against rookie quarterbacks since 2004:
I’ve never paid any attention to it. I didn’t even know that. Somebody told me that the other day. The only comment I have is that I hope I am 14-1.

Do you have a spy on him?
I think you have to respect his athletic ability and his ability to run. He makes a lot of plays in that manner. He makes a lot of plays on designed runs. We have to know where number 10 [Griffin III] is. They have a guy that wears number 46 [Alfred Morris]. He is leading their conference and is second in the league in rushing. You don’t want to turn your back on that guy because you were looking at Griffin III the whole time. That’s one of the reasons they have such a potent offense. They have more than one guy. They have a cast of characters around those two that are really strong. They are a good offense, no question about that. I think they are number-five in the league.

How do you prepare for RGIII’s passing?
We are going to try to get everything communicated and be where we are supposed to be, see what we are supposed to see and play good, hard and clean football. We have to chase the ball down, because it’s going to get out every now and then. We have to chase them down and tackle them. We have to play good, consistent defense. That’s what we are going to do.

Can a quarterback like him create space because of his running ability?
I think so. I think that’s one thing we have to guard against. We can’t get mesmerized by the stuff he might do and let the basic play that Morris does. He’s a tremendous runner and gets room to run. Let’s face it, as good as Griffin III is, number 46 is going to have the ball more than him. The simple fact is you have to defend both of them, as well as anyone else they give the ball to. Number 36, Darrel Young, the fullback, gets the ball on occasion. That’s another step of deception. They have two top rushers and this guy comes in there with a pretty healthy yards per carry average as well. What we have to do is not any different than what we have to do every week. We have to be on our keys, get communicated and lined up and play good defense. 

Do you attack to avoid being mesmerized, or do you wait it out and react?
Yes, that’s what you do. [Laughs] Didn’t you ever hear that answer before? Someone says, “Is it black or is it white?” You say, yes, that’s what it is. That is what we are doing.

Re: James Harrison’s return:
I think he is getting better every week. I think he will tell you that. He is never bad. He missed a lot of football. He missed all the coaching sessions at training camp. He is not the only guy on defense that has done that. Jason Worilds didn’t get any of those snaps either. Those two guys, you can just see them getting stronger every day. That’s a tremendous help for the defense.

Have you seen a guy like RGIII?
I think he is very rare. I think his numbers indicate that, with what he was able to do at a major university. What I find kind of interesting is that there are five of those rookies starting in the NFL. They are all very productive and good football players right away. I think it’s a testament to the style of offense that the colleges are running now and the type of athlete that is playing quarterback and getting those snaps and open-field looks. It’s not such a transition for them to come into the pros. I think these guys have proved that the younger guys can play quicker and be productive quicker. He’s probably as good as anyone I’ve seen with the combination of running and passing. Michael Vick was tremendous. I don’t know if you can say he is better than Vick but you are talking about the cream of the crop here.

Does their style of offense make you go back and look at old notes?
Fortunately, we are far enough in the season that we already got a good look at that part of it. Their head coach is a genius. He is never going to show you the same thing two weeks in a row. He is going to do it differently. He is still going to run the same plays. The formations may be different and the people may be different, but the plays you have to stop are going to be repeating. We do have that. I am glad we aren’t playing them in the first game. We have some idea of what they are going to do but we don’t know what they are going to do it from. We have to be on our keys and have everybody on the same page. We have to play hard. We have to do that every week no matter what.

With their potential options in the backfield, do you have more keys and is it a tougher prep process?
Fortunately, on defense, we shouldn’t be looking in the backfield that much. Your keys aren’t going to change from week-to-week. Your gap responsibility is not going to change from week-to-week. What you have to look at to get to where you want to get is not going to change. What changes is when you have to face a quarterback that is a world-class athlete. He can keep the ball and outrun some of your defense. That’s something that you have to give them credit for. You have to chase the ball down and tackle, and get up and play the next down. We don’t have to look in the backfield. If we do, we are going to be in trouble.

So why do they do all that hocus pocus in the backfield?
Every player doesn’t do what their coach tells them to do. You look in the backfield and they get lost.

Has the trap game in the NFL gone away?
That was there formula. They drafted for that formula, and that was their philosophy. But the trap has never left the game. The old Steelers, that was the core of their offense. Everything went around play action, and the dive plays coming off that trap action. They drafted guards that were real athletic and their centers were always great. They could hold down and block back so the guards could go out. Then it was all by scheme. Coach Chuck Noll had worked on that for a long time, and he got the people that he wanted. We all know that it was successful. It’s more of a passing league now but the trap itself is not gone. It will never be gone. People have even got more exotic with the trap game, using the tackles now. That’s a different looking play. It shows up every couple of weeks for us to defend. It’s not to the frequency that the old Steelers ran but I don’t think the trap will ever be gone.

Are linemen too big now?
Typically, teams will pull their most athletic linemen. I think they are looking for other things first when they draft that lineman. But they are never going to completely leave that trap play because it is a good counter to a hard rushing defensive player.

Who is the best pulling guard you’ve ever seen?
I would have to say Jim Parker, because he is an Ohio State guy. He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so he wasn’t too bad.

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Coordinator’s Corner: Haley and LeBeau

Posted by Teresa Varley on October 9, 2012 – 6:35 pm

Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley

Re: Rashard Mendenhall being back:
I think, first of all, it’s a testament to him and to Kirby [Wilson] having him both mentally and physically ready to go. When everybody felt like it was the right time for him to be back, he stepped in and it was really a seamless transition. In addition, I think he’s a difference maker type of player and the more of those you have the better. Last week, he was difference maker.

Re: Thoughts on running back by committee:
I’ve always asked the running backs coach. They’re the guys that are with those guys all the time. Kirby has a great feel for where guys are within a game, both physically and mentally. Are they on a roll or not? He does a very good job of having them in there at the right time. There might be special plays or situations that during the week we talked about having a specific guy but, other than that, I’m going to lean to Kirby and he does a great job with it.

What do you see when you look at the Titans defense?
I think they’ve played some pretty good competition and even last week, with a team like Minnesota, a team that maybe they didn’t think a lot of prior to the last few games, but they’re showing up as a pretty good team that is scoring some points. I think they’re a young team that’s working hard to get better every week and you’re seeing progress every week. But, they’ve also run into some pretty stiff competition and they had a big win against a pretty good Detroit team who has had a good offense the last couple years. They’re like all of us. We’re just trying to get better every week and make progress.

What does Weslye Saunders give the team at tight end?
I think that will kind of be up to him. He’s been out of the mix here for a little while. We’ve had some guys who are here and working and are finding their roles, so to speak. This is a little tougher week to do it. We’re not in pads but he’s going to have to come get in the mix, start competing, and like everybody else across the board, the guys that give us the best chance to win each and every week, those will be the guys helping us. He’s just trying to get back in the flow right now.

Re: David Paulson getting more snaps than Leonard Pope last game:
I think, again, much like running backs, Coach Daniel has a good feel for those guys. There are plays and situations, packages that certain guys will be in. It just so happened that last week, the package we were in had David and Heath in it.

How did the wide receivers do against the press coverage last game?
They did a pretty good job getting open. There were some physical battles out there. I’ve learned not to just look at their size and that it’s a smaller receiver. They all play bigger than their size and they did a good job of winning. There were some situations where we have to make the play in those situations and maybe it wouldn’t have come down to being such a close game. We won the game. They made plays to win, especially down the stretch. The big play on third down by Ben and [Antonio Brown] and then Ben and Emmanuel were huge conversions for us on that final drive. They did a lot of good things but, just like the rest of the group, we’re trying to work to get better every week.

Were you surprised with fans cheering when Chiefs’ QB Matt Cassel got hurt?
I didn’t hear about it. I’m in Pittsburgh. I’m worried about the Steelers offense.

Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau

Re: The Titans offense spreading the field and using different formations:
They have done that quite a bit. They mix their personnel. Even with the younger quarterback, they had quite a bit of four wide receivers, three wide receivers and a tight end like a wide receiver spread out, and they would go back and forth. You’d see that on first and second down quite a bit, then you would get back to regular one tight end, two tight ends, and feeding their great tailback the ball. They can do both and do it.

Have the Titans changed how they use RB Chris Johnson?
No, I don’t think so. Their head coach was their offensive line coach. I don’t think they’re going to change that. They’ve had a lot of success with what they’re doing.

Re: CB Keenan Lewis performance:
Keenan is a young player and he’s early in his growth cycle and we’re looking for him to continue to grow. I thought he played well last year for us. So far, he’s doing okay. We’re just looking for all of those young players to grow and looking for our veterans to lead and stabilize the situation here.

How did the defense execute against the Eagles?
I think they definitely played better. I don’t know whether I did anything better but we have to get better. I know that. We kept the point total down where our guys had a chance to win at the end. We should have got off the field on that last drive and let our guys sit on the ball at the end of the game. We’ve got some work to do but I think we made some progress.

Re: Losing S Troy Polamalu again to injury:
We went through the last several years where we’ve had a rotation of Woodley, Harrison and Troy missing some games. I think if you look at the National Football League, every team goes through that to a degree. They seem to be hitting us in those particular three guys who, last time I looked, aren’t too bad of defenders. I think we had Troy about half of a quarter. The three of them were together about half a quarter and then LaMarr went out during the next quarter and we were back to business as usual. Our guys did a great job of focusing and playing and keeping the game in touch so our guys could win at the end.

Re: LB Jason Worilds’ performance:
I thought he played well. Jason played pretty well last year. He grew tremendously. He missed so much football with that injury and that’s nobody’s fault. It’s just the way it is. I thought that he looked closer to what he was last year last week. Again, some of those young guys we’re looking to grow and to continue to contribute. I thought Jason played a good football game last week.

Re: Will Allen playing more at safety:
I’ve always looked at those two safeties, Will and Ryan Mundy, as the same person, two veteran safeties that can go in there and play either safety. Really, a large degree of our success in recent years has come from those two guys having the depth and providing quality depth for us. Ryan Clark has missed some games, Troy has missed some games, and those two guys have stepped in there and I look at them both as the same player. We’ll readily use both. We will need them both.

Re: Mundy usually getting the majority of the playing time:
I’ve always told them we’d play them both but we haven’t really played Will that much. Will deserves a chance to play some, too. But, we’ll play them both and we’ll need them both.

Will you have Allen and Mundy spell each other and rotate at safety?
Well, we’ve done that with several other people at several other positions. I believe we can.

What do you make of the Titans offense?
They have great skill people. The young quarterback was doing fine but I’m not sure their veteran quarterback isn’t better for any team, especially this guy with the experience he’s got. You have to look at who they’ve played. They’ve played four great opponents. They’ve had a tough schedule and they’ve been close, tough games for the most part. A couple of them later in the game got opened up a little bit but like every team in the NFL, their football, if it’s not winning, is always better than its record. This team definitely is better than that record.

Do you have to prepare more for offenses going for it on fourth down?
I think the game and the situations dictate that. Fourth down has always been a down where it’s like a turnover if you can get off the field if they’re going for it. I expect us to win our share of those types of battles. I don’t think that’s any different than it ever has been. People, when they need the ball and need points, they’ll go for it, no matter what it is.

Is there a common factor in the games where Chris Johnson has struggled?
I think there is. They get a little bit behind and they have to throw the ball and he doesn’t get that many touches. I think he’s a great back. He’s a home run hitter and I think if he gets the ball a significant amount of times, he’s going to make some yards. Just some of the games, the way they’ve gone, he hasn’t had that many touches. They’ve had to get the ball to him on screens and draws and stuff like that when they’re throwing the ball. I do see a difference.

How is the defense different when James Harrison is on the field?
He was the Defensive Player of the Year a couple years ago and he’s always been one of our leaders. He’s just a solid, strong player. The more of those types of guys you have out there, the smarter the defensive coordinator looks.

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A few minutes with Todd Haley

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 15, 2012 – 4:23 pm

Todd Haley – August 15, 2012

Do you have any special plays ready for Mike Wallace when he returns, since it sounds like he will be back soon?

I haven’t heard anything factual or sounds solid, so we’ll continue to coach the guys who are here. But I am looking forward to seeing him, hopefully sooner rather than later.


How long will it take Wallace to catch up on the playbook?

Everyone is a little different. A lot of other guys know him better but I am a little familiar with his skill set, and it is pretty impressive. I would think we will just tailor to his skills early on and ease him into it. You want a guy like that involved as much as you can because he is a difference maker.


Re: A “ground and pound” offensive philosophy:

If we can win every game running it 35-40 times that would be great. Statistically, if you hand the ball off 30-plus times in a game, you’ve got a 90-plus% chance of winning. I think that it’s yet to be determined. We’ll play the way we need to play to win each and every week.


How much does Rashard Mendenhall’s injury affect the running back position?

None, really, as far as I’m concerned. When a difference-maker like Mendenhall is back, just like Wallace, we want him back sooner rather than later. You’re not going to hurry him back, especially a running back coming off of an injury like he had as late as he did. When he does come back, that’s another difference-maker you have on the offensive side of the ball and we’ll play to his strengths. I’m excited about the group we have right now, even without Mendenhall. We’re just trying to figure out who can do what and play to their strengths.


Re: Isaac Redman getting an MRI tomorrow:

I don’t know anything about that. I heard he was practicing today. He’s been a little nicked-up but we’re a little short at that position, so we’re trying to be smart. I think Head Coach Mike Tomlin overall is trying be real smart, especially at the spots where we’re a little short.


Re: Redman’s running style:

He’s a big, downhill back that’s excellent in protection. As a runner, you can’t pigeon-hole him and say he’s strictly a between-the-tackles runner, because I do think he has a little sneaky burst to the edge. He’s got real good vision. I would say what he does best is that he can pound it up in there. I like the direction we’re going with the offensive line. We look to be making some progress up front, especially as we get healthier. I’m excited to see him get as many carries as we can get him this week.


Have any wide receivers separated themselves from the rest of the group?

It’s still real early, and you’re talking about a bunch of young guys that haven’t had a lot of playing time, except for maybe Derrick Williams. I think it is a little too early at that position to get too excited one way or another. They’re all competing. This week will be a big week. Hopefully David Gilreath will be back and get a chance to play some, and we’ll get some of the guys who maybe didn’t get a ton of reps last week in the first game some chances to play. Games are where you’re really going to see guys start to jockey around, and I think it’ll start to play itself out the more games we play in this preseason.


What is going to be the identity of this offense?

It’s too early to tell. I am excited. We’re definitely going to have some versatility. I think the more versatility you have, whether it’s from a running and passing standpoint, or from a schematic standpoint because of the ability you have at different positions, I think that we’ll be a versatile offense. We’ve got a real good quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, and I would think that one of our strengths is versatility. You don’t want to do a lot of things just okay. You’d like to do some things real good. I think with some of the ability we have and if our line continues to gel together and gets better every week, we have a chance to be a pretty versatile group that can hurt you in a number of ways.


Re: Chris Rainey looking comfortable within the offense:

I think that’s a testament to him. He’s still got a long way to go. We’re not going to start carving the bust yet for Rainey. He has done some things that get you excited. As an offensive staff, we’re all kind of encouraged to see a young guy not be afraid to step up and make plays. It’s a testament to him and the way that he prepares. He’s obviously studying hard because we’ve asked him to do a lot of different things. He’s got a high level of pride and is conscientious about the job he’s doing. He’s been coached real well by Kirby Wilson, who is on him pretty much all of the time and doesn’t make life easy. He’s responded well to this point, but like I’ve said, we’ve got a long way to go.


Is there any concern that Redman is going to miss an extended amount of time?

You guys have more information than I do right now. We’re practicing and we’re not trying to put too much on him because he is a little nicked-up. The way I understood it is that we’re going to stay on course with that but the plan is to get him some carries in this game.


What is the plan for Max Starks?

Under the new CBA rules, he has to be eased back into it and go through that period that everybody went through early on in camp. He’ll be in just a helmet for a couple more days. Once he’s in pads, he’ll be out participating with his teammates in drills other than individual. I think we just have to be smart and ease him back into it and get him some legitimate snaps in the run and pass. We’ll let him get his feet wet and get back into it.


How would you assess your wide receiving core if and when Wallace comes back?

I like the group, especially the top three guys. Wallace being in that mix adds another difference maker. The more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. We’ve got some guys that have NFL experience, that have shown they can make plays both in years past and so far this year. I think we’ve got a chance to be solid at that position. We still need some of these young guys in the second half of the group, one or two of them to step up whether it’s as a special teamer or receiver, so we can have somebody at the game who’s doing more than sitting and watching.


Will you throw the ball more against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday to see what you have?

I think what we’ll do is we’ll play the first line guys a little more. But our plan won’t change a whole bunch as far as what we’re working on. We’ll have an area of emphasis again which might be a lot the same but there will definitely be some other things that we’re working on potentially in this game, without giving anything away. But I think the big thing is we’ll get some more snaps out of those front line guys and continue to acclimate them into playing football games.


Do you have any packages for four wide receivers?

Yes. We definitely have them. We have five wide. Again, one of the things that I stand by and preach is try to get the best 11 on the field. I don’t want to just go four wides just to go four wides. If that fourth receiver isn’t clearly better than a tight end or a back then it’s hard to pull the trigger on that one. The philosophy is get the best 11 on the field. That goes for goal line, short yardage, red area, third down, all the different situational areas. That’s really the way we try to operate.



Do you have a set plan for how long the starters will be in Sunday?

We haven’t talked about that yet as a staff but I’m imagining it will be a series or two more than what we saw last week.


Is there any chance that Max Starks will play Sunday?

I wouldn’t rule him out. We have to see how he does. I think maybe tomorrow he’ll be able to go into pads. I’m not sure exactly of the rule but it’s either tomorrow or the next day. If he gets a couple good practice days and he’s feeling good, I wouldn’t say he or anybody is ruled out right now.


Does Emmanuel Sanders have a chance to make a name for himself this year?

There is a great opportunity for any of those guys playing the wideout position. He’s a hungry, young player that definitely has ability and the skill set to go out there and make plays for us. He’s a tough guy that isn’t afraid to block in the run game and isn’t afraid to make plays in the pass game. I think he’s looking at this as a great opportunity to go out and really be a weapon for us.


With the injuries on the offensive line, how much of a challenge is it to gain some chemistry?

Injuries are part of it. You can’t change it. You have to make due with what you have. Injuries can happen anywhere along the line. Any combination of players that are out there could be a combination that you might be playing with later on down the road when the games are real. We’re all about building chemistry and generalizing offenses as a unit, who’s going to be here and who’s not. What I can say for sure is they all won’t be here one way or another. With the guys that are here, we’re working on offensive team chemistry and having an offense that is a smart situational football team, that plays physical and makes plays when we need plays whether it’s run or pass.


Re: Leonard Popes’ and Weslye Saunders’ progress:

Pope had some experience in Arizona. He came to Kansas City and then came out here to Pittsburgh, which it looks like he’s enjoying it, and becoming a true Pittsburgher, even though he may not talk like one. He’s still got a lot of Americus, Georgia, in him. He’s a great kid and he’s a veteran who has a lot of snaps under his belt and some big games. I know him very well. It’s really more about our staff and team getting a feel for what he’s capable of. I think he went out in the first game and did a reasonably positive job the snaps he was in there. He’s going to get some more this week just by virtue of the situation at tight end. He’s doing a good job. Saunders is in that second year, and I think you have to put an asterisk by all these second-year guys because they’re not truly a second-year guy because they missed the entire offseason last year. They’re kind of at one-and-half right now as far as where they are in their development. He’s made progress through the offseason and through the training camp so far. We’re trying not to think a whole bunch about the first four games aspect of him and really just try to give a true evaluation, a fair evaluation of where he is, so that we can make the decisions that we have to make as a staff.

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Some one-on-one time for Haley and Brown

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 13, 2012 – 7:15 pm

During a break in a recent practice, offensive coordinator Todd Haley and wide receiver Antonio Brown went over to one of the practice fields that wasn’t in use, and spent about 10 minutes together, talking, working on routes.

“We were just going through the mindset of what he is thinking,” said Brown. “He is a great offensive coordinator and we were going over some things that can make me better, things I can add to my arsenal to make me better.”

Brown said that although they didn’t spend a lot of time working one-on-one, the time they did have was valuable. 

“It definitely helps,” said Brown. “If you are on the same page thinking what your offensive coordinator is thinking, he understands what you are doing it’s perfect.  Being on the same page and working together as a corporation is a key on a team.

“We have been talking a lot about developing some of the routes. Having a moment with him where we can just talk about our thoughts was really good. I learned a lot from that little bit of time.”

Brown said that he feels comfortable in Haley’s offense and with Mike Wallace still not in camp he is ready to do whatever is asked of him.

“No matter who is here, or not, I have to be available, willing and capable to come through in situations for the team,” said Brown. “We can only focus on who is here right now and what is important.”

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No huddle going well so far

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 2, 2012 – 12:00 pm

The no huddle was the primary focus for the Steelers’ office in practice on Tuesday, and worked on more Wednesday. And so far it’s getting good reviews.

“It went well,” said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. “It was a good start. We did a little bit (Wednesday) and I thought it went a little bit better. We’re going to keep making progress and taking strides to keep getting better.”

Fellow quarterback Charlie Batch thinks the repetitiveness will make the next time out that much easier.

“You have to practice it,” said Batch. “There is always going to be a day devoted to that. You can never get too much work. You just have to get enough work to absorb it. When there is that much and you hear it over and over again and you are walking through the reps it helps.”

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley implemented the no huddle during OTAs, so the players have had a few times to work with it and they are getting more comfortable with it every time.

“As you learn it you get a feel for what Coach Haley likes and he gets a feel for what each of the quarterbacks like,” said Batch. “This is what it’s about, that is why you walk through it and then go through live drills. Overall it was good.”

So far the plays have mostly been scripted, but as time moves along the quarterbacks will be able to make calls.

“You are talking 90 percent may have been scripted but there are alerts,” said Batch. “That was just the first day. The next time we go out there it will probably all be on the quarterback.”

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First look at no huddle

Posted by Teresa Varley on July 31, 2012 – 9:47 pm

Steelers’ players continue to learn Todd Haley’s offense, putting some of that to the test on Tuesday when they ran the no huddle in practice.

“I think as a staff, myself included, we feel that there’s been enough good to feel good about the direction we’re going in,” said Haley before practice. “There’s a lot of work to do. We’re still reinstalling a bunch of the things from the spring so that they all hear it for the third time.

“To this point, today’s a big day. We have a lot of no huddle, running and passing out there today. So this will be a big day for us because whether it’s two-minute or true no huddle situations, it will be a big part of our offense one way or another. But to this point there is a lot to clean up still and a lot to come. But we feel good about where we are.”

After practice Coach Mike Tomlin was pleased with the way things continue to progress.

“It requires some attention of course,” said Tomlin. “It’s new. I like where the group is. It’s obvious we’ve made good use of our offseason time. When I’m talking about that, I mean OTAs and minicamp. But it’s a process. We’re going to continue to get better. We need to.”

Haley said the ideal situation is to have quarterback Ben Roethlisberger calling the plays in the no huddle.

“He’s shown the propensity to do that at a high level,” said Haley. “This is new to him, so we’re still working together on it. Ideally, if you have a quarterback like Roethlisberger and what he’s done, when he’s in full control, that’s a good situation to be in because he’s right in the middle of it, seeing what’s going on. There’s always communication at least in my experiences because we can communicate until the (play) clock gets to 15 (seconds).   

“I could tell through the spring that Ben’s got his arms around it and he likes it. You can see his eyes light up a little bit when we get in that mode. That’s the sign of a great quarterback. The ones that I’ve been around, they want it, give me control and let me run this thing. He has the ability to do it, as he’s shown in the past and through the spring. I’m just excited to see us continue working as a group and get this thing ready to go for the season.”

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Sanders hopes offense throws the ball

Posted by Teresa Varley on July 26, 2012 – 12:00 pm

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders would love to see the Steelers throw the ball every play, but knows that with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley this camp will be about developing an identity for the offense.

“We are out here trying to find our identity, whether we are going to pass the ball 60 percent of the time or 40 percent of the time,” said Sanders. “I am a receiver so I am hoping we throw the ball 80 times a game. In OTAs it was 50-50.

“Talking to Todd he said we are going to do whatever it takes to win, whether it’s pass the ball or run. I am hoping its pass.”

Sanders, who was hampered by a foot injury last season, is excited about the 2012 season.

“Football season is finally here,” said Sanders. “We are back to work. Now it’s time to put all of the hard work form the last six months to the test.

“I am looking to get better. That is what training camp is all about. I am training to get better, training to learn the offense and continuing to gain Ben’s (Roethlisberger) trust so when the game comes around he can trust me.”

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