One of the most popular games of the regular season is for people to try to read between the lines of what Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is saying and whether or not he is passive-aggressively complaining or taking a shot at somebody.
Following the team’s first loss, we were awarded with our first opportunity to play the game, when he made reference to a lack of a no-huddle offense. Asked if going no-huddle late in the game helped them move the ball better, he said, “yeah, but we don’t really have a no-huddle, it’s kind of like our two-minute offense, so that was the change-up, just going kind of a two-minute, just pick it up type of pace”.
The veteran likes to play in the no-huddle, which we’ve generally come to associate, particularly under Randy Fichtner the past three years as offensive coordinator, as the period in which he himself runs the offense. Roethlisberger was asked earlier today what he meant by his comment about the lack of a no-huddle offense.
“We don’t have it in the sense of what we’ve had in years past, where we’ve got this whole menu of plays that I can go to and call”, he said. “You always have a no-huddle in the sense that you have a two-minute offense and you’re not huddling in the two-minute offense”.
“In that sense, we have 10 to 12 plays, where in the past, maybe we’ve had 50 to 100 plays”, he added. “But it’s different the way that we run it, so it depends on how you technically define a no-huddle offense”.
He was asked as a follow-up whether or not that was tied to the fact that so much of the offense, and the offensive players were new, he said, “for sure. Yeah, for sure”. And that should be no surprise, given how much has changed since last year.
Fichtner was let go, and quarterbacks coach Matt Canada was promoted to offensive coordinator. Mike Sullivan was hired to be quarterbacks coach. Shaun Sarrett was let go as offensive line coach, and Adrian Klemm was promoted to that role. James Daniel retired as tight ends coach and Alfredo Roberts was hired to take his place.
Then most of the offensive line left. Three of the starters are new to the team this year, including two rookies. Their starting running back is a rookie. Their seeming top tight end, at least by snap count, is yet another rookie. Even three other important players, starters, are in just their second seasons with the team, or in the NFL period.
When you have that many moving parts that you’re trying to incorporate into an offense, and a verbiage, that is new to everybody, your menu is going to be limited, especially early on in the season. Quite frankly, it takes time to build up a repertoire of 100 plays you can call upon at will.