We are all 2 weeks into the 2012 NFL season, and if you include the preseason, we are a full 6 weeks in. And for the Pittsburgh Steelers this means 6 weeks of the new and improved offensive system implemented by new offensive coordinator Todd Haley. But can we consider what we have seen either new or improved? Let’s dig a little deeper.
I went back when I heard that the Steelers had hired Haley and found as many highlights of those Arizona Cardinals teams that were so explosive, and Kansas City Chiefs highlights from when the offense was actually healthy to try and get a feel for what to expect from the new Steelers offense and try and analyze how it’s all going to fit.
I loved what I saw from the quick hitting, rhythmic and high paced pass offense paired up with power running. I started to get excited for the preseason. Then the preseason happens, and it’s the same old Steelers.
And I’m not saying this is a bad thing. What I am saying is, for all of the good intentions of Haley and his desire to plug in this new system and new philosophy, the most important detail he overlooked is, the offense is Ben Roethlisberger. And what Roethlisberger does doesn’t always fit with what Haley wants to do.
So what should be done, if anything? I know that Roethlisberger has his critics. Fans don’t like the fact that he holds the ball so long at times, and forces throws, ignoring his check downs waiting for the big play down field. And I understand that this is completely counter to what Haley wants to do. But the fact of the matter is, you can’t change who Roethlisberger is. The notion that he can suddenly become Kurt Warner is absurd. And personally, I don’t want him to be Warner at all.
Going forward, the Steelers coaching staff need to be smart about incorporating some of what Haley’s offense wants to do, but they must embrace the fact that this is Ben’s team, and how he plays will determine more about this team’s success than anything else. You try and tinker too much with what he does, and it won’t matter how great the scheme is, if it doesn’t fit what Roethlisberger does well, it won’t matter. I say just win and that means let Ben be the player he is.
There was a point when I was excited about the change, but in the final analysis, I am much more excited about seeing how far Roethlisberger can carry this team, and how he can exploit all these weapons on offense then anything else at this point.
Can Ben change, or is it Haley that needs to change for the good of this team? Come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard and let me know.