The recent Super Bowl LII radio row tour in Minneapolis, MN that Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell made to close out the week was an eventful one. In addition to talking about his current contract situation and saying that certain teammates of his weren’t ready to play in the Divisional Round playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bell also dished on the rocky relationship between quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and now former offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
During a radio interview with Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, Bell was asked to comment on how the team no longer having Haley as the offensive coordinator will affect things moving forward.
“I think it’ll help us,” Bell said.
Bell was then asked by Smith why he thinks that is.
“Just because I felt like maybe it was something between Ben and Todd,” Bell said. “You know, I think it was just a little something. They always kept it professional, but I just think it was something with those guys. They didn’t really click, you know? I think Randy [Fichtner], you know he was the quarterback coach, obviously Ben loves Randy and those guys connect.”
Bell went on to reveal that Roethlisberger mostly didn’t like the plays that Haley would call on third downs.
“I feel like it was a lot of third downs Todd would maybe call something that Ben didn’t like,” Bell said. “There’s certain plays that Ben didn’t like. As a player, you’ve always got plays that you like, plays you dislike. It would be a big situation and Todd would call a play that Ben don’t necessarily like and he tried to go out there and just execute it because the play is called. But Randy’s only kind of going to give Ben what he wants, you know, make him comfortable. Because third downs, that’s the biggest thing, that was our Achilles’ heel was third downs and red zone.”
It was easy to see the disconnect between Roethlisberger and Haley from the middle of the season and on and thus it wast surprising to see quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner brought down from the coaches box to the sideline during the second half of the season to serve as a buffer between the quarterback and the offensive coordinator.
With Haley now out of the picture, Roethlisberger now has his handpicked choice in Fichtner calling plays into him for perhaps the remainder of his career and it will be interesting to see if the quarterback is ever given a play call on third down that he doesn’t like moving forward.
As previously mentioned and as Bell confirmed during his interview with Smith, the Steelers definitely have to fix their red zone offense next season as it wasn’t very good at all this past season.