Can the Pittsburgh Steelers offense be even better in 2015 than they were last year? If that indeed is going to happen, offensive coordinator Todd Haley believes it will be because his younger players have a better grasp of things.
“Were going to try,” Haley said following Wednesdays OTA practice. “I mean that’s our goal every year is to get better everyday. We’ve got a lot of people back, which is a good thing, and you can see it when those guys are out there practicing. You can tell some of those guys like Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton, Le’Veon [Bell], they’re getting more and more comfortable. I think the fact that they’re more comfortable and understand how we do things that it will only help them have a chance to be better and that’s the goal.”
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a fantastic 2014 season and he’ll look to better his performance in 2015. While many tried to wrongfully present a narrative last year that the Roethlisberger didn’t throw deep enough in 2014, and that Haley’s offense was merely a “dink and dunk” one, the numbers say otherwise. Roethlisberger still took his fair share of shots down the field last season and Haley addressed that Wednesday.
“Each and every play that we’re throwing the football, there’s opportunities to throw it down the field,” Haley said. “The coverage will obviously dictate whether you can or you can’t a lot of times. What Ben did so good last year was he made real good decisions and he made them quick. And whether it was pushing the ball down the field, or getting it out to someone underneath who was running with it, it was good decisions and that’s the name of the game, because every play there’s going to be those opportunities, it’s just knowing when to take them and we’ve got to continue on that path.”
Roethlisberger did indeed get the ball out quicker last year and Haley spoke in-depth about that aspect of his quarterback’s game during his Wednesday session with the media.
“The name of the game was to get Ben to continue to evolve and get better with age, so to speak, and I think he’s done nothing but to continue to improve, at least since I’ve been here, and that’s all I can speak on,” said Haley. “Like I said, it was him making good decisions and when the ball needed to come out quick, it came out quick a lot of the time and that led to positive plays.
“At the same time, one of the best things he does is keep a play alive and make a big play and I think what he did as good as anything last year, was he just picked his spots. He knows that’s something that he can’t do every single play and I thought he did a good job of picking those spots, when to make the Ben-like plays, so to speak, and he’s the best in the world at that.”
Haley is also well aware that his offense needs to be a lot more productive inside the red-zone in 2015 than they were last year as he knows the unit left a lot of points out on the field in 2014.
“We had too many possessions where we ended up with no points,” he said.
This upcoming season will be the fourth that Haley and Roethlisberger worked together in and with so many pieces from last year’s offense still in place, in addition to the unit being more experienced, it’s easy to get excited about the production and points we’re likely to see in 2015.