Todd Haley, Ben Roethlisberger Have Chat

Chiefs coach Todd Haley will be the Steelers' next offensive coordinator.

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Ben Roethlisberger, Todd Haley Finally Have First Conversation

In the weeks following Todd Haley's hire as offensive coordinator of the Steelers a lot was made about his lack of contact with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. After Bruce Arians was let go, many thought Big Ben might not be happy with the move and might freeze out the replacement. Well, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the two finally spoke recently and the conversation went well.

"It was a really good talk," Roethlisberger said of the 10- to 15-minute phone conversation he had with Haley in his first comments since their first meeting. "Unfortunately, we can't talk football right now and that's one of the big things I wanted to talk about.

"So it was just me talking to him, about golf, his family, my family, him having been a ballboy here, just things like that. It was a good start and I felt it was a good step in the right direction."

Todd Haley spoke about how he wanted to increase the performance of the running game in pittsburgh, but with the way Kurt Warner succeeded in his offense in Arizona, there is no reason why Roethlisberger can't enjoy the same kind of success.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger Concerned About Fate Of Offense After Departure Of Bruce Arians

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger expresses concern about potential wholesale changes in the team’s offense after the departure of his old offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, and the hiring of Todd Haley as his replacement. Specifically, he doesn’t want Haley to completely replace Arians’ offense with his own, given how difficult it would be for the Steelers and their wide receivers to learn a totally new system.

“It would probably be easy for him to do,” Roethlisberger said about Haley possibly choosing to stick with his offense. “I don’t know if it would be easy for us to learn it. We’re so young on offense and the most talented room in this whole building is probably wide receiver, no disrespect to anyone else. And they’re also really young.”

“That was my biggest talking point to Mike and those guys — I would hate to just throw everything out and start over because I feel it would set us back two or three years because these guys are just starting to get it.”

Roethlisberger was a big Arians fan, so it’s no surprise that he feels this way. In this case, though, he may have a point — Mike Wallace is already an established star, but a young one, and Antonio Brown emerged as a star in 2011. The Steelers’ offense is far from perfect, particularly along the offensive line, but it has a lot going for it, and it makes sense that Roethlisberger would be protective of some of the Steelers’ talented young players.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


Did Steelers' Mike Tomlin Want To Hire Todd Haley?

Jamison Hensley wonders what Steelers coach Mike Tomlin might think about new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

There’s still a perception that Tomlin wanted to keep Bruce Arians as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator and it was team president Art Rooney II who wanted to make this move. Rooney was the one who called Arians to inform him that his contract wasn’t going to be renewed.

So, naturally, there is a perception that the Haley hire was forced upon Tomlin.

That certainly meshes with what most Steelers fans believe. Tomlin evidently wanted to keep former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, and so did Ben Roethlsiberger, but but Steelers president Art Rooney II ultimately won out. Arians was popular with Roethlisberger, but not so much with Steelers fans, who disliked his pass-heavy style and his play-calling. Tomlin had nothing but good things to say about Haley in a press conference Thursday, but that’s about what you’d expect. It will be interesting to see what kind of relationship they develop going forward.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


Steelers New Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley Won't Resurrect Pittsburgh's 'Blue Collar' Style (Thank Goodness)

More: Welcome Home Todd

Although the official announcement has yet to come down from on high, various sources are reporting that the Pittsburgh Steelers will hire former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley as their new offensive coordinator, following the curious departure of Bruce Arians.

I like the hire, but it's difficult to wrap your brain around, given the bizarre circumstances under which Arians was dismissed. Steelers president Art Rooney II seems to have been the one pulling the trigger on that one, as head coach Mike Tomlin is a long-time Arians proponent and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who enjoyed numerous productive seasons under Arians, vocally opposed the change during the Pro Bowl.

Rooney reportedly wants to get back to Pittsburgh's blue-collar-lunchpail-hardhat-tough-as-nails-backhoe-black-lung-jackhammer-blah-blah-blah roots. Of course, this is nonsense. It's 2012. Pittsburgh's economy now centers around medicine and finance—not steel—and the Steelers' personnel basically demands the opposite of what Rooney is apparently pining for. They have a suspect offensive line, a plodding running game, and the best trio of young wide receivers in the league: Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Emmanuel Sanders. Plus there's that Roethlisberger guy.

Haley's specialty is wide receivers. He's worked with Keyshawn Johnson, Marty Booker, Terrell Owens, and Terry Glenn, usually as a position coach. But his crowning achievement in this department has to be his 2008 stint with the Arizona Cardinals, in which wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston all passed the 1,000-yard mark. Granted, most of these guys were high-round draft picks—dudes with obvious pedigrees and undeniable upside. So while we can't give Haley all of the credit for developing aerial talent all over the league, it's safe to say that he knows what to do with it. He'll certainly have plenty of toys to play with in Pittsburgh.

Schematically, it's hard to say how the Steelers offense will change under Haley. The Cardinals were a high-flying passing offense, the Chiefs were an electric running team; Haley will likely play to Pittsburgh's strengths, too. And that's not running the ball. For my part, I hope Haley focuses on faster developing plays that will allow Roethlisberger to get rid of the ball quicker and mask the line's frequent lapses in protection.

Just don't count on Haley being as foolishly nostalgic as the team's president. He won't resurrect the good old days of run run run. And thank goodness for that.


Todd Haley To Be Named Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Coordinator, Report Says

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been in the hunt to replace offensive coordinator Bruce Arians who retired/was fired at seasons end. Former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley was one of the names that was rumored to have been a person of interest in the vacant position and it sounds like he will be hired, according to Mark Carman of 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City.

Haley had spent the last three seasons as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs before being fired towards the end of the season. Prior to that, Haley was the offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. During his time with the Cardinals, the team set franchise records in scoring while on their way to Super Bowl XLIII against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

UPDATE 6:27 PM: Haley's hire is confirmed.

For more on the Pittsburgh Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


Steelers Offense: Joe Greene Happy To See Changes

The Steelers recently fired offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who many Steelers fans disliked due to his reliance on the pass rather than the run as the Steelers’ top offensive option. Proponents of Pittsburgh’s earlier style of smash-mouth football have been pleased with the decision, and that includes former star Joe Greene, who’s back in the public eye this week due to a remake of an iconic commercial. Here’s what Greene has to say:

“If it doesn’t feel good, you have to change it and, basically, it wasn’t feeling good,” Greene said Friday. “It wasn’t feeling good in ‘09, and it wasn’t feeling good in 2011” …

“When New England played the [Baltimore] Ravens [in the AFC championship game], had they continued trying to throw the football, they would have lost it. They decided they had to run it, but they couldn’t line up and show you they were going to run it, they had to look like they were going to throw the pass, and that’s when they ran the ball on them.”

Greene goes on to compare the current Steelers to the Steelers of the 1970s, which isn’t surprising. I’m not sure how useful such comparisons are, though, and to suggest there’s an equivalency between the Steelers then and now (and especially between quarterbacks Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger) seems off-base. The Steelers need to be careful not to base their offensive game plan around nostalgia.

The Steelers have yet to replace Arians, but former Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley appears to be in the lead for the position.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


Todd Haley 'Frontrunner' For Steelers Offensive Coordinator Job, According To Report

According to a report Friday afternoon, former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley leads the pack of potential replacements for recently-departed Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Nothing is certain, however.

As of Fri, Feb 3 @ 3:40pm ET, it’s my understanding that Todd Haley’s the frontrunner for the #Steelers off coord job—-but nothing decided.

Haley has already interviewed for the job. The Chiefs fired him in December. He was previously the offensive coordinator for the Cardinals. Here’s Nice Pick, Cowher on why Haley would be a good fit in Pittsburgh:

Haley’s Cardinal offense used a big, strong armed, veteran quarterback who was used to having a say in the offense (check). The Cardinal offense had a potent receiving corps stocked with superstars, future superstars, and role players (check) Haley’s Arizona offense was a bit pass happy but effectively mixed in the run when it mattered (Can a brother get a DOUBLE CHECK). The Haley offense can score like crazy and get deep into the playoffs against good to great defenses (checkitty check). As a head coach, Haley was able to turn around a floundering Chiefs squad and get them to the top of the juggernaut known as the AFC West.

We’ll see how this turns out. It’s only a tweet at this point, and not even a particularly definitive-sounding one.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


Keith Butler Declines Interview With Colts, Will Remain With Steelers

Steelers linebackers coach, and presumptive defensive coordinator of the future, has turned down an interview with the Indianapolis Colts for that position, and will remain with the Steelers as the linebackers coach this upcoming season, according to our Behind The Steel Curtain blog. Butler has an interesting position in the coaching staff, and as a result, his decision to stay raises some interesting questions.

Butler received a handshake agreement with the organization in 2009 to become the team's defensive coordinator when he turned down an offer from then coach Tony Sporano to become Miami's defensive coordinator. That handshake must have been renewed, and likely with it, a raise.

The Steelers might be looking at a vastly different defense next year than the one they sent out for Week 1 this year, not for lack of production, but rather for age and injury concerns. While Butler's performance with the linebackers has come under some scrutiny, any continuity the organization can keep on that side of the ball will probably be beneficial.

For more on this retention and all things Pittsburgh Steelers football, please head over to the aforementioned Behind The Steel Curtain.


Steelers Coaching Search: Mike Tomlin 'Gathering Info' On Todd Haley As Potential Offensive Coordinator, According To Report

Pittsburgh Steelers' Head Coach Mike Tomlin has apparently called around the league to gather information on former Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley. Jason LaCanfora tweeted that Tomlin is currently gathering information about Haley, who could emerge as a potential offensive coordinator candidate.

Via @JasonLaCanfora:

Haley was in charge of the Chiefs for the past two and a half seasons, before he was fired by Scott Pioli in the second half of the 2011 season and replaced by Romeo Crennel. Before Kansas City, he was the Offensive Coordinator in Arizona under former Steelers' coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. The Cardinals were among the top five teams in the league in scoring during the 2008 season, when they met the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

Haley is just the latest name to emerge as Pittsburgh tries to replace Bruce Arians. Randy Fichtner and Sean Kugler had previously been mentioned as potential candidates.

For more on how this will effect the team, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers football, please head over to Behind The Steel Curtain.


Keith Butler Will Remain With Pittsburgh Steelers, According To Report

The Pittsburgh Steelers will hang on to linebackers coach Keith Butler, according to a report by Jason La Canfora of NFL Network.

Butler was reportedly to interview with the Indianapolis Colts for their defensive coordinator position, but with signing a new deal with the Steelers he will obviously cancel that interview. Butler has been a coach with the Steelers since the 2003 NFL season, also coaching for the Cleveland Browns from 1999 to 2002. Butler also had a 10-year career in the NFL as a linebacker with the Seattle Seahawks.

This marks the second time in as many seasons that Butler has turned down a defensive coordinator position else where to remain the Steelers linebackers coach.

For more on how this will effect the team, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers football, please head over to Behind The Steel Curtain.


Pittsburgh Steelers Interested In Alex Van Pelt, According To Report

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of a handfull of teams that have expressed interest in quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, according to a report by Jason La Canfora of NFL Network.

Pelt spend the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but was released with the rest of their coaching staff when Raheem Morris was fired. Prior to Van Pelt's position with the Bucs, he held the same position with the Buffalo Bills for two seasons, including doubling as the offensive coordinator for the Bills in 2009.

Van Pelt also had a stint as a quarterback in the NFL, being an eighth round draft pick of the PIttsburgh Steelers in the 1993 draft, but failed to make the opening day roster. He spent one season with the Kansas City Chiefs, but then held a long career as a back up quarterback for the Buffalo Bills from 1994 to 2003.

For more on how this will effect the team, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers football, please head over to Behind The Steel Curtain.


Steelers Linebacker Coach Keith Butler Will Interview With Indianapolis Colts

It appears another Steeler assistant coach may land in Indianapolis. On Saturday, former Pittsburgh Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians was hired by new Colts coach Chuck Pagano. Now reports are indicating that Linebacker Coach Keith Butler will interview with Pagano and the Colts on Tuesday. It would be a promotion for Butler, as Pagano is interviewing him to fill the defensive coordinator position. According to Ed Bouchette, it's not a given that Butler will leave.

Via @EdBouchette:

Pagano, Arians, and Butler all coached for the Cleveland Browns during the Butch Davis era, and have existing and strong working relationships. The departure of Butler would leave a huge void on Dick LeBeau's defensive coaching staff. He's been there for nine years now coaching the linebacking corps, and many thought his loyalty to the organization made him a perfect fit to one day replace the aging LeBeau.

For more on how this will effect the team, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers football, please head over to Behind The Steel Curtain.


Bruce Arians Could Be Indianapolis Colts Next Offensive Coordinator

Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians "retired" from the Steelers earlier this month. It now looks like Arians' "retirement" was actually forced. Recent word has Arians set to join the Indianapolis Colts as their next offensive coordinator, starting out with the Colts at the beginning of the Andrew Luck era.

Arians denied reports that his retirement was voluntary, and with this news, it certainly looks like it wasn't. Arians took a lot of heat from Steelers fans for his style of offense, which focused around throwing the football and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Traditionally, the Steelers have been a power rushing football team oriented on the running game, but under Arians the team seemed to go in the opposite direction.

Via Mark Kaboly.

For more on how Arians' departure will affect the team, as well as all things Pittsburgh Steelers football, please head over to Behind The Steel Curtain.


Ben Roethlisberger Plans To Speak With Art Rooney About Bruce Arians And Offensive Coordinator Position

It's been no secret that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was perturbed with the team parting with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Arians has said as much, indicating that he didn't understand why he was let go and that Big Ben was unhappy about the move. Roethlisberger is out in Hawaii at the Pro Bowl, and he spoke with a couple different media outlets on Thursday.

He made an appearance on NFL Network at practice, speaking with Marshall Faulk. And he did not look happy. He expressed regret about losing Arians, stressing the family atmosphere the Steelers try to promote and how difficult it is to disrupt that continuity. He professed his love for Arians, and reiterated that they have a great relationship and that the decision is something he "will have to live with."

Roethlisberger also gave a comment to Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. In that interview, he indicated that he plans to talk to Art Rooney II about the direction of the offense, and what the owner wants from him going forward.

Via Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

"When I get back I'm going to go up to Mr. Rooney's office and ask him what he wants from me, what he wants from this offense, because I think that's a viable question for him. He's our owner and our boss, so I really would like to know kind of what he wants and where he sees our offense going because I'd like to tell him where I see us going."

It's clear that he's bothered by the upheaval at the top of the offensive coaching staff. The Steelers have yet to name a replacement for Arians, but whoever it is will have some big shoes to fill in the eyes of the franchise's quarterback.

For more on how this will effect the team, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers football, please head over to Behind The Steel Curtain.


Bruce Arians Retirement: Steelers President Doesn't Deny That Arians' Departure Wasn't Voluntary

Steelers president Art Rooney II waves away the discrepancy between the team’s earlier announcement that former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians retired, and Arians’ contention that his retirement came only after Rooney made clear that the Steelers would not be renewing Arians’ contract.

“I think the questions of how we got here are not really relevant,” Rooney said. "Mike has begun the search for our next offensive coordinator and he’ll do a good job finding the right person. We’ll go through the process and interview the right candidates. We’re looking to improve on offense and have sommebody possibly to be in place for a number of years.

“Bruce had talked about retirement for a few years now. I think it was time for a change, and we’re looking forward to moving on.”

It sounds like Arians’ departure wasn’t nearly as voluntary as the word “retirement” suggests.

Arians was an unpopular figure among Steelers fans due to his play-calling and his reliance on a pass-first offense.

Here’s video of the interview.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


Randy Ficthner, Sean Kugler Candidates For Steelers' Offensive Coordinator, According To Reports

As the Steelers search for a new offensive coordinator following the retirement of Bruce Arians, a pair of reporters suggested on Monday that his replacement could come from within the organization.

Dale Lolley of the Washington Observer-Reporter tweeted "Steelers likely to hire from within meaning Randy Fichtner or Sean Kugler best shot at oc," while the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Mark Kaboly tweets that Fichtner is a strong candidate and would be a good pick for the position.

Fichtner, of course, served as quarterbacks coach under Arians and has been with the team since 2007. Pittsburgh is his first NFL stop after stops at a number of spots including Michigan, USC and his alma mater Purdue. Fichtner is a Cleveland, Ohio native and is 48.

Kugler has been the Steelers' offensive line coach since 2010 and has coached with the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills. He also made a brief stop at Boise State in 2006. Kugler is 45 and is a Lockport, N.Y. native.

For the latest on the Steelers search for a new offensive coordinator, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh.


Tom Clements Good Fit To Replace Bruce Arians As Steelers Offensive Coordinator, Writer Says

Now that former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has retired, Pittsburgh is now on the market for a new play caller. Neal Coolong of SB Nation's Steelers blog, Behind The Steel Curtain, suggests Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements could be a good fit.

As fun as it is to wax nostalgic about the glory days of Bettis behind Lester into the 4-hole, the reality is this is a passing league. Clements gets that. The Steelers are likely to at least enter longterm contract discussions with WR Mike Wallace this offseason, and it won't be long until they ink Antonio Brown to a long-term deal ...

The news is all about the offense right now. Why not select a guy who not only is from Pittsburgh and understands the city, not only is a former coach who had success in a pretty solid run by the Steelers, but was the man behind the direct mentoring of the 2011 MVP (a.k.a. The Year Quarterbacks Became More Important Than Any Two Players).

As Coolong points out, Clements coached with the Steelers under Bill Cowher from 2001-2004 and did some good work with the much-maligned Kordell Stewart. He's also obviously done a lot of good work with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, helping turn him into one of the best passers in the league.

Clements applied for Penn State's open head coaching position late last year, so it looks like he'd be willing to move for the right job. And as a McKees Rocks native, it's easy to speculate that Steelers offensive coordinator might be a role that would interest him.

For the latest on the Steelers search for a new offensive coordinator, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh.


Steelers Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians Retires

Bruce Arians, the offensive coordinator for the Steelers since 2007, has retired from football, according to a release on the team's website.

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