It’s a great day for some Pittsburgh Steelers notes and musings. Without much of an agenda, a loose and informal structure and geared fully to illicit conversation within the greatest Steelers community web site on the planet (presumably, the universe), we’ll start off diving into the offense.
Haley’s Offensive System
How different will offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s offense be from where it was last year? We’ve heard QB Ben Roethlisberger say it’s 90 percent different (S.W.A.G.), but he’s also talked about going no-huddle and getting the ball to the receivers.
Haley passes to set up the run, and the most obvious difference between the success he had in Kansas City (before he lost half his starters to injury) was the heavy involvement of his running backs. Maybe this is a chicken vs. the egg thing, but the Steelers have considerably more talent at WR than Haley had in Kansas City. Is he just going to ignore that? And if he doesn’t, isn’t he just sitting on much of what they did last year?
I understand it’s early, and you have to take what Roethlisberger said with a grain of salt (if you really want to get picky, you could say the offense changing "90 percent" would probably mean the Steelers are running a wishbone this season, and removing Roethlisberger for an as-of-now-unidentified quarterback in short yardage situations). What exactly is going to be different?
One guess I would make would be less of a priority on high-to-low reads from Roethlisberger and more of an open look for him with more option routes from the receivers.
You’ve probably noticed BTSC hasn’t run a Mike Wallace-specific story in a little while now. It could be a record for amount of time passed without featuring him. Part of the reason is Wallace hasn’t said or done anything newsworthy recently. It makes me ask myself if he even has at any point this offseason.
Sure, there’s the RFA tag, the possibility of a franchise tag, the contract negotiations and alleged desire for a "Larry Fitzgerald" contract, but Wallace hasn’t said a word. We’ve spoken plenty for him though.
It’s dumb to suggest he doesn’t deserve criticism. I’m of the belief a good quarterback makes an average receiver look much better, but it’s more important to look at the converse of that statement. A bad/injured quarterback makes a good receiver look worse. Part of the reason, I’m guessing, Wallace doesn’t have a long-term deal in place is because the two sides aren’t very close in their initial offers. You can make arguments for both sides, too. On Wallace’s side - few, if any, have the stretch of big-play dominance he has in three years. On the team’s side - the offense hasn’t been all that productive overall, and it was stuck in third gear much of the time when Wallace was getting eight targets a game, as well as when he was getting four a game.
Is that big play threat conducive to a highly productive offense? The risk involved with the deep pass is much higher than of a short pass, so it seems as if the better big-play option would be a guy who can take a short throw a long way. Higher percentage pass, less likelihood of it resulting in a sack or interception.
Roethlisberger really doesn’t throw a great deep pass on schedule. Things go off schedule, pocket breaks down and he’s moving, he’s pretty solid. But sitting in the pocket, he just doesn’t look comfortable.
Maybe a better route is to basically give Wallace the chance this year (since he’s not going anywhere) to put up or shut up. If you’re not, as his haters call him, a "one trick pony," let’s get you in space and see you make guys miss. He’s made those plays in his career, and I’d like to see more of it.
Hall of Fame at Heinz Field
I believe the construction of a Steelers Hall of Fame is a part of the recent proposal to add seats and amenities at Heinz Field, but one needs to get built, like, yesterday.
Who wouldn’t go see that? Say what you will about your love or hate for the Green Bay Packers, the Packers Hall of Fame outside Lambeau is a destination for any hard core football fan. It’s history, it’s the foundation of the NFL. If the Packers have one of those, as storied a franchise as it is, then I’m Packers-green with envy. It would turn Heinz Field into a year-round destination, and one of those things I would see, regardless of the price.
If it’s not in the works already, someone needs to make this happen. If that person is you, please let this serve as our request for action.