Forcing a slight head-turn, Tribune-Review reporter Alan Robinson had a piece on the possibility of the Steelers running their no-huddle offense against Oakland in their Week 3 game Sunday.
They didn't run it at all against the Jets in Week 2, after running it substantially against the Broncos in Week 1.
In that report, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger mentioned, likely sarcastically, the possibility of an ulterior motive in not running the no-huddle.
Week 3 Coverage: Run Game | Carson Palmer | Raiders At A Glance | Oakland CBs | Five Burning Questions | Four Best Hours | Thursday Injury Report | Replacement Officials"There was no no-huddle," Roethlisberger said of the offensive game plan against the Jets. "Our no-huddle is usually when we have three wide receivers on the field. (The coaches) saw something and wanted to run the ball with multiple tight ends and keep (the media) and the fans happy, I guess."
It seems a reasonable person can infer from that statement Roethlisberger was displeased about the lack of no-huddle offense, but Roethlisberger also looked sharp and decisive, completing 24 of 32 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
A no-huddle offense is designed to exploit certain personnel match-ups on the field, and negates a defense from substituting to counter what the offense is showing. Due to the hurry-up nature of the package, it typically has the quarterback calling the plays from the line of scrimmage.
Like The Schwartz, it has an upside and a downside. The offense is just as susceptible to rushed mistakes as the defense does, and it detracts from an overall goal of controlling the clock. That's as big a reason to use it sparingly as anything else. It also limits a team's playbook. As Roethlisberger said, they run it primarily with three wide receivers, and the offense doesn't substitute either, so they can only run packages involving three receivers.
It also puts those limited plays and tendencies on display for future teams to see and prepare for in following games.
While it's up-tempo and fun, and oftentimes successful, that success rate is likely to drop the more it's used.
To Roethlisberger's credit, he's showing outstanding decision-making ability so far this season, and for as much as Haley wants to establish the run, they're averaging 2.6 yards per carry, and just north of 70 rushing yards per game (both marks are 30th in the NFL). It seems through two weeks consistent denial of Roethlisberger the opportunity to dictate the game based on his arm will have adverse effects.
Considering Oakland's banged-up secondary (one that surrendered nine catches and 111 yards to something called Brian Hartline in Week 2), it's likely Haley will give Roethlisberger the green light for the no-huddle at some point Sunday. The question is when, exactly, it will be called.