Todd Haley knows there is nothing to smile about. His offense is averaging under 10 points a game after it's first two performances of the season and averages two turnovers per game.
To add to it, the only thing that the offense might have had in it's favor before this week was that there weren't any public controversies between Haley and the team's players. That all changed with the reports this week that Haley and Brownwent at it on the sideline during the Monday night loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The report came from Ed Bouchette through an anonymous source, but no film or evidence from ESPN, whose network was nationally broadcasting the game, that the altercation occurred.
Yesterday however, Haley denied that the altercation was what the media responses have made it out to be.
''There's no problem whatsoever between he and I,'' Haley said. ''And I didn't see anything different in that game interaction-wise between he and I. I thought it was just about what it always is, and when things aren't going good and for things not going well, I thought those guys have handled it well. There was no confrontation. So, that's all I can say.''
Haley did acknowledge that there might have been frustration from Brown during a conversation they had, but not to the level that there was drama on the sideline that isn't normal for a team struggling to score as it drops to it's first 0-2 record since 2002.
There was a positive notion that the offensive players were evolving, but that it's not producing. He thinks his guys are handling the pressure well, considering this the first time the team has had a record with two more losses than wins in the Tomlin era. Haley pointed to the team's turnovers costing points, and the ineffectiveness on first and second down to provide easier opportunities on third downs.
But on a side note, this is yet another anonymous source that reports to a Steelers' beat writer about internal conflict in 2013. In February it was Ron Cook who reported that an anonymous Steeler said that Lamarr Woodley was out of shape and awful. That caused enough internal controversy that sparked months of discussion about the locker room's integrity.
Now it's another controversy from an anonymous source. It may not necessarily be a player, but it's bringing unnecessary attention to the team that doesn't involve getting better for the next game.
It seems likely that Brown and Haley had words with one another during the game that might have infused frustration and raised voices because losing breeds frustration. However there's no way to tell which story to believe at this point, considering we don't even know who saw this alleged incident.
Regardless of whether Haley and Brown had an altercation, the team needs to produce points this week to win. The Bears' defense has been nothing to laugh at recently and even if the offense was performing well, it would be a challenge. There is discord amid this offense and outsiders can see it as bright as day.
The best medicine is winning and Haley's job depends on that shipment coming in soon.
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