Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley certainly isn’t a stranger to the organization’s history due him being a ball boy for the team as a kid when his father Dick Haley served as the Director of Player Personnel. Because of that, the younger Haley knows all about the two-back system the Steelers used to run many moons ago that included Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier. During his weekly segment on Steelers Nation Radio, Todd Haley was asked if a two-back system could work again in today’s NFL.
“Yeah, I think this is a cyclical league, you see things come back around that maybe you haven’t seen in a long time,” Haley said. “Having worked for Coach [Bill] Parcells for a long time, even into the 2000s, he liked to get into flat-backs, as we call them, which is kind of what happened with Rocky and Franco, one in the strong position, one in the home position, but really there are some unique runs and different things you can do out of it. So like I said, things kind of find their way to work back around and you’ll see different teams doing different things.”
So does one of those running backs in a two-back set need to be a lead-blocking type?
“Some form of blocker,” Haley said. “Flat backs takes them out of that lead-blocker position which is really meant for a bigger fullback-type person and I think that was the advantage when you had two guys that could really legitimately carry the football, but I don’t think you want to shorten that guy’s neck too much.”
Needless to say, all eyes will be on Haley in the coming weeks due to the return of starting running back Le’Veon Bell from his three-game suspension and especially being as veteran running back DeAngelo Williams has done such a great job while starting in his place. With that said, while Haley might decide to have both Bell and Williams on the field at the same time starting as early as Week 4, I doubt we will see that happen more than a few times a game if it indeed happens at all.
More than anything else, Haley can use Williams to spell Bell on occasions in order to keep the latter fresher for a potential deep run into the playoffs. That would be the prudent thing to do being as Bell has gone done with knee injuries in each of his last two seasons.