Bob Labriola and Todd Haley had an interesting discussion during this week’s Coordinator’s Corner. A look behind the veil to the mindset of an offensive coordinator and the in-game processes.
Haley noted that part of the reason why the Pittsburgh Steelers passed so much Sunday – passing 59 times to 14 rushes – was the mindset instilled in the team once they went pass-heavy.
“You reach a point of no return where you guys up front to have to pass protect for a couple hours to get back into run mode is not a fair thing to ask of the guys up front,” Haley told Labriola.
To the line and the running back’s credit, they took the gameplan in stride. DeAngelo Williams encouraged Haley to keep throwing the ball because of how well it was working, even when Haley asked the veteran back if he needed to get more carries.
The comments prompted Labriola to ask Haley if he cared about a balance on offense, paying attention to his run/pass numbers throughout the game.
“Absolutely. Shaun Sarrett, our offensive assistant and o-line assistant is up in the box, and he throughout he game will keep me updated, run/pass. Some games, it’s much more important from a design, philosophical standpoint going in. Other games, we’ll go in saying we don’t care about balance in this particular game.”
For what it’s worth, the Steelers have passed 58.7% of the time, obviously running 41.3%. But as Haley points out, that balance is dictated by several factors, including opponent and game flow. You also have to factor in the several packaged plays a game that offer a run/pass option. As long as an offense is able to move the ball effectively, run or pass balance doesn’t mean much. Take a cue from the New England Patriots, who are able and willing to run under ten times a game and still win.