Ed Bouchette had a sit down interview with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger prior to the introduction press conference of new offensive coordinator Todd Haley and shared several of his concerns about Haley being hired they mostly centered around the young players on the offense having to learn a new system.
Haley said in his presser today that while a lot of the verbiage will carry over from the offense that Bruce Arians ran, they will be starting with a clean slate offensively. The concern that Roethlisberger communicated to Bouchette today is that the young guys on offense, more specifically the wide receivers, would have a hard time learning a new offense because they were just getting comfortable with the old one. Roethlisberger however was resigned to fact that if they indeed were forced to learn a new offense that they were not going to complain about it. As far as Arians goes, Roethlisberger told Bouchette he was shocked to hear the news that he would not be back in 2012.
I consider this the initial push back from Roethlisberger today, but as I mentioned in a previous post, he better get used to being an employee again and go with whatever Haley puts before him. It is human nature to be afraid of change, and while he does have a point in regards to the young receivers likely to struggle the most with a completely new offense initially, it is unlikely that Haley will be sympathetic to his fears. Both he and Haley made it known that neither have sat down to talk to each other since Haley was hired, and I expect the first come to Jesus discussions between the two are just days, if not hours away. Roethlisberger will plead his case about the young offense, but it is unlikely that Haley will take too much of into consideration.
Haley was hired to push Roethlisberger to the next level and that is exactly what he will attempt do. Haley brushed aside questions today that he is difficult to deal and said that people should ask former players of his like Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and Keyshawn Johnson about him instead. It sounds like Big Ben already has, as Bouchette reports that Roethlisberger told him that he has received numerous calls, emails and texts from people around the league concerning Haley. How many of those that Ben initiated is only left to speculation.
The offseason has merely just began for the Steelers and we are unlikely to hear anything else from Haley or Roethlisberger until after the drafty in April. My then all of the serious discussions will have taken place between the two will be well in the rear view mirror and I suspect we will get quotes from Ben about him being more on board with the new direction of the offense. Consider this stage one of the “tweaking” of Roethlisberger.