Speaking to reporters before practice today, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talked about how the offense was able to dip a bit more into the no-huddle in the late stages of Sunday’s game, which allowed them to make a fourth-quarter comeback—though it would be squandered by game’s end.
The 18-year veteran had spent earlier portions of the season bemoaning the lack of a true no-huddle package in the offense, and acknowledged that a lot of that had simply to do with the number of inexperienced players in the mix, but those players are now gaining experience, and it’s enabling them to run this look more, something they intend to do going forward.
Rookie left tackle Dan Moore Jr. sees it as “a big step for us” on offense to be able to push the pace, and for Roethlisberger. “I think he noticed that the pace was hurting him a little bit, early on in the game. I thought it helped us gain some continuity on offense”, he said.
He was specifically asked whether or not it’s something that they hoped to do more of, and earlier in the game, rather than just in certain contexts. “100 percent”, he said to the latter. “You always want to push the pace, and I think that’s the direction that we want to go in our offense”.
“Wearing defenses out, I think that’s an element of our offense, so definitely”.
Pushing the pace isn’t something the Steelers have been able to do a lot, this season. Without breaking it down, I would imagine that they are toward the bottom of the league in terms of percentage of plays run relative to their overall time of possession.
Moore is, of course, just one of four rookies in starting roles for this offense, including fellow lineman Kendrick Green at center. Running back Najee Harris and tight end Pat Freiermuth are first and second on the team in scoring, the former with seven touchdowns, the latter with five.
Now with 10 games each under their belts, they should be able to have a better rhythm moving forward, and that could take the form of a more robust—that is to say, extant—usage of the no-huddle look that Roethlisberger has favored for a number of years, even when he wasn’t allowed to use it as much as he cared to.
With all that being said, it would hardly be accurate, I think, to attribute the Steelers’ fourth-quarter scoring to the no-huddle offense. After all, they scored 17 points off of three possessions on which they started in opponent territory, including two in the red zone, and one in goal-to-go. The no-huddle is not a cure-all, by any means.