Todd Haley as many of you know was the Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator from 2007-2008. Some question whether his play calling or the players were what made the offense great. However that is not what this will be about. This is a story that can illustrate Haley's ability to coach a player.
It has been reported today that the Steelers have hired Todd Haley as their new offensive coordinator. Much has been said on Todd Haley's character, and his offensive style. While I don't know what was said in the interview and can't know how this will turn out I want to relay a story of the past which may effect the future.
Haley, is a competitive coach, who plays with a passion and an in-your-face attitude. As a coach he has high expectations of his wide receivers, In the first off-season with the Cardinals Haley looked at film of a young Larry Fitzgerald who was going into his fourth season, and had a Pro bowl appearance to his name. In a conversation with Fitzgerald he called Fitzgerald a "one-trick pony" who needed to improve many aspects of his game. It was reported he said that Larry was very good but he could be great if he focused on the little details. In that off-season Fitzgerald work hard on his route running. He made the Pro bowl in 2007 and All-Pro Team and every year afterward he has made the Pro Bowl. He is now considered a true Pro who runs routes extremely well. Haley wasn't done there though. In 2008 after acknowledging Fitzgerald improvement he continued to criticize Fitzgerald game. He said that Larry needed to improve his yards after the catch to become truly great. Fitzgerald filled with humility committed to losing some weight and did in fact improve his YAC. Fitzgerald is considered one of the best in the game today and he will credit Haley for having the courage to tell a young first round draft pick already playing at a Pro Bowl level that he could play better.
How does that involve the Steelers. Well Haley enters as the Steelers' Offensive Coordinator this off-season with a player who has one Pro Bowl and entering his fourth year Mike Wallace. Wallace has already been called a "one-trick pony" by his Head Coach Mike Tomlin. This being so I suspect that Haley will analyze Wallace's game and challenge him to be even greater. He can do the same with Antonio Brown as well. If the have the ability to listen to Haley's criticism, take it to heart and work because they want to be the best. This trend that happened with Fitzgerald may in fact happen with Wallace but it will take the humility of Mike Wallace to happen.
I guess the point of this post was to express my confidence in Haley. He is very good at coaching his wide receivers. Under his coaching Terrell Owens had a resurgence of three straight 1000 yard season, a Pro Bowl, and a All-Pro selection, Larry Fitzgerald reemerged as a All- Pro caliber receiver including career best in 2008, Anquan Boldin had a career year, Steve Breaton a low draft pick of the Cardinals emerged as a very good route runner because of Haley's coaching, and Dwyane Bowe revoked his bust possibility to become a Pro Bowl receiver. There no doubting what Haley can do for "The Young Money Crew" as long as they have humility and are receptive to criticism. Haley as an OC though will have questions to answer.