Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Roethlisberger doesn't have a problem with the dinking and the dunking aspects of Todd Haley's offense. He knows it's the main reason the Steelers lead the league in time of possession average despite not having run the ball successfully most of this season.
The term "dink-and-dunk" sounds silly, but its negative connotation is taken very seriously in football circles.
When Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger mentioned the offense run by new offensive coordinator Todd Haley was "dink and dunk," many chose to perceive that negatively as opposed to a term to describe a ball-control shorter passing scheme aimed to maintain possession, limit turnovers and maximize a quarterback's ability to use excellent receivers in space.
Many offensive coordinators found their way out of a team's locker room due to their "dink-and-dunk" offenses, but in Haley's case, it's allowing Roethlisberger to be the center point of the offense, and get players involved.
Roethlisberger clarified his comments from last week, adding his ever-important buy-in in an interview with USA Today.
""That wasn't meant in a negative way," Roethlisberger said. "Coach Haley and I had a laugh about it this morning. To dink and dunk, that's moving the chains, and it will open up big plays. The Patriots dink and dunk, too."
No word was mentioned whether Haley and Roethlisberger were throwing chairs at each other, or spiking each other's coffee with Ex-Lax.
But he's exactly right. The Steelers and Patriots are both teams that do not throw the ball deep particularly often, but that's not the point. The Patriots lead the league with an average of 31 points a game. The Steelers lead in time of possession (34:49) and third down conversion percentage (53.8).
Those are all winning statistics. They are all also things that take pressure off a defense.
The Steelers are 26th in the NFL in rushing, and yet, hold the ball longer than any other team on average.
Sure, Roethlisberger would probably like to uncork it every now and again, like he did against Tennessee when he hit Mike Wallace for an 82-yard touchdown. They also ran a few deep balls in Week 7 against Cincinnati that didn't materialize. The difference is what Roethlisberger is doing with the ball if that deep look isn't open.
Involving other receivers - the Steelers have four receivers with 30 or more targets through six games. The Steelers have turned the ball over six times in six games, also a winning number.
So dink and dunk away. This will be especially important in Week 8, as the Steelers will need to control the clock to keep Washington's fifth-ranked offense off the field.