(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Former Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley was on "The Pat McAfee Show" on Thursday and he touched on a myriad of topics, but when it pertained to his tenure in Pittsburgh. His relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was a big talking point.
Haley said his relationship with Roethlisberger at first was “tenuous,” as the Steelers upper management decided to part ways with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who had a close friendship with Roethlisberger. Some in the organization thought it was "too close," according to Arians. Roethlisberger is infamously known for comparing Haley's offense to learning the "Rosetta Stone" in the 2012 offseason.
“I was coming in, replacing a really good friend in him with Bruce Arians, but there was a definite job that had to be done,” Haley told McAfee.
Roethlisberger has struggled through two games in 2021 and has absorbed a lot of hits. In Sunday's loss to the Raiders, Roethlisberger was hit 10 times and was sacked twice. He also suffered a left pectoral injury in the game. In addition, the offensive line took a lot of heat this week for not helping Roethlisberger up after getting put on the Heinz Field grass on Sunday.
“To me right now with the Steelers, does he trust these guys in front of him? It’s a whole new group, a new offensive line coach, a new center for the first time in how many years since he had (Maurkice) Pouncey, I mean those are all big items,” Haley said. “What I’m seeing is Ben needs to trust those guys upfront right now and if he can . . . then they have a chance to play good football.”
With Roethlisberger taking so many hits, many expect the Steelers to enhance the quick rhythm passing game even more. Haley says that he takes credit for changing Roethlisberger's style of play, which has prolonged his career.
“What happened over those six years was Ben got the ball out fast and he appreciated getting the ball out fast to playmakers who then made good plays and he saved a lot of wear and tear so I think it was mission accomplished,” Haley said.
Haley has been away from the Steelers organization for four seasons now after they didn't renew his contract following the 2017 season. Despite how things ended, Haley says he still “secretly” roots for the Steelers, mainly because his father, Dick played for the Steelers in the 1960s and was the team’s Director of Player Personnel from 1971-1990.
Haley also praised Mike Tomlin and had nothing but good things to say about working for him from 2012-2017. Haley said Tomlin is one of the best coaches in the league.