As the NFL season enters into Week 15, the Pittsburgh Steelers sit at a disappointing 5-8, which ranks third in the AFC North. For a team that is usually the standard of excellence, fans are looking for a scapegoat, and much of the blame is being put on the shoulders of their offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
Since the arrival of Haley in 2012, it has been made public that he and the offensive players of the Steelers do not get along. The relationship between Ben Roethlisberger and Haley has never seemed to mesh, and as Pittsburgh’s 2013 playoff hopes lay in the balance, so does Haley’s job.
In 2012, Haley was brought into Pittsburgh in order to replace Bruce Arians, a well liked and successful super bowl winning offensive coordinator. The theory behind bringing Haley and his west coast offense to Pittsburgh was simple — Roethlisberger would get the ball out of his hands quicker, take less hits, thus prolonging his career in the NFL and with the Steelers. In most respects, Haley’s offense has kept Roethlisberger healthy, but unfortunately, it has not led to wins.
In the 2013 offseason, the Steelers let go of two of their best offensive weapons, Rashard Medenhall and Mike Wallace. The organization felt that their wide receiving core would be strong enough without Wallace, and they replaced Medenhall in the 2013 draft by selecting Le’Veon Bell in the first round.
In the 2013 preseason, Bell sustained a lis-franc injury, which sidelined him for the first four games of Pittsburgh’s regular season. During these four weeks, Pittsburgh’s rushing game was abysmal. The Steelers were forced to pass with a receiving core that Roethlisberger clearly did not have confidence in. The result of this was four straight losses, which put the Steelers in a hole that they’re still trying to dig themselves out of.
The Steelers’ offensive line has also been beaten, battered and bruised since Haley has arrived. In the past four seasons, the Steelers have used 30 different offensive line combinations. On top of these problems, the defense that has been getting older, creating fewer turnovers, and giving up more points.
There are many things you can point to as to why the Steelers have struggled in 2013, but Haley is only part of the equation.
Alex Faherty is a writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @4TheSport.