Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley has probably had a very interesting week on the heels of his team’s head coach Hue Jackson intimating after last Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that he might need to have a bigger hand and say in the play-calling moving forward. On Tuesday, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was asked during his weekly interview on 93.7 The Fan to comment on Haley being in the middle of those comments made by Jackson.
“Well, I can’t imagine Coach Todd was too happy with all that talk, and I don’t know what he’s going to say to Coach Jackson, or the players, or things like that, but obviously Todd has a pretty good track record,” Roethlisberger said. “I mean, he’s been to a Super Bowl as a coach, he was part of this offense here that was very productive for the many years that he was here. But Coach Jackson’s right, it’s his team. He has the right to do what he chooses and how he wants to call plays and who calls the plays and so that’s up to them to work it out. And I’m sure those two have had at least a talk or two behind closed doors. But if Coach Todd or Coach Jackson wants to let everyone know what was said, I’m sure we would all love to hear it.”
During his Thursday press conference Haley was asked if he heard the comments Roethlisberger made on Tuesday about him and his response was an entertaining one, to say the least.
“I knew about it because I get a little sheet [of paper full of quotes] because I do not pay attention to it,” Haley replied. “I do not listen to it. I was trained by my father, during the season we did not get a newspaper at the house. He would not let the Post-Gazette be delivered to our house in-season because he said anything you read may affect what you are trying to do. I was a little kid and that stuck with me.
“But I did read it earlier today and Ben is a great player, he’s been to the top of the mountain. I am sure he is preparing, he’s probably working on his quarterback sneaks and such, and we are working hard here and are trying to be the best we can be because we have to be. We have to play our best game of the year against these guys, so it is a big game.”
Obviously, the quarterback sneak comment goes all the way back to late last season and after Pittsburgh’s playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars when Roethlisberger claimed on his radio show that he didn’t have the freedom to check to that kind of play call when Haley was the Steelers offensive coordinator.
In the Steelers Week 1 game against the Browns earlier this season, Roethlisberger used a quarterback sneak to convert a short yardage situation early in the fourth quarter with Haley obviously on the Browns sideline watching. During his Tuesday morning radio that followed that draw with the Browns, Roethlisberger was asked about the quarterback sneak he had in that game and if it was meant to be a small jab a Haley.
“I don’t think so,” Roethlisberger said. “It was called from the sideline. I went over there, and they called the play, there was no discussing it. They called it, we talked about all week in practice, too, that if they [the Browns defense] gave a specific look that we would have it. And we’ve talked about on this show before that I’ve never been opposed to the sneak, I’ve done it with pretty high success in the past. So, hey, we’re one for one. We should keep a little tally this year.”
It will now be interesting to see if Roethlisberger attempts another quarterback sneak in Sunday’s rematch against the Browns at Heinz Field and if it even phases Haley one bit.
“They are all different,” Haley said Thursday when asked if working with a high-profile quarterback like Roethlisberger in the past is something he can write a book about one day. “They are all different personalities, but generally, you are going to have alpha dog, ultra-competitive guys – guys that in the old days probably would have been leading the army, or the gladiators.”