Todd Haley laughed off Antonio Brown's sideline tantrum in Baltimore because, actually, it would be hypocritical if he didn't.
The Steelers’ offensive coordinator found himself in Brown's crosshairs after the wide receiver flipped over a Gatorade cooler on Sunday in the second quarter of the Steelers' 26-9 win over the Ravens.
When Haley approached after Brown took a seat on the bench, No. 84 got up and walked away. Haley tried to grab the back of Brown's shirt, but Brown twisted away and swatted at Haley's hand.
No hard feelings, Haley said on Thursday.
"You just try to understand that guys are passionate and want to contribute and want to make plays, and there are going to be some emotions out there," Haley said. "I've been one of the emotional ones at different times, so I'm understanding of it."
When Haley was offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals, he got into a sideline spat with receiver Anquan Boldin late in the NFC championship game that preceded the Super Bowl matchup against the Steelers.
"I just knew he was worked up and tried to calm him down a little bit," Haley said about the incident involving Brown. "Guys are competitive and passionate, and it got away a little bit.
"It seems to have worked itself out."
Although Brown was wide open on the 3rd-and-4 play in question, Haley said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made the correct decision by checking down to running back Le'Veon Bell.
"AB was upset he didn't make a play," Haley said, "but really, everybody did what he was supposed to do."
Chris Hubbard served as an extra blocking tight end during the second half of last season and he reported for three plays in Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings.
With Hubbard starting in place of injured right tackle Marcus Gilbert against the Ravens, his former job fell to backup interior lineman B.J. Finney to help boost the running game. Finney played nine snaps at tight end, including one when a pass play was called. Finney was open, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn't see him until after throwing to tight end Vance McDonald.
Haley was asked whether there's a play in the book for Finney to be targeted.
"We just put him last in the read as much as we can," he said, laughing.
Haley, though, said he's fortunate to have two linemen capable of being used at tight end.
"It's not for anybody," he said. "You have to have a level of athleticism that some guys don't have. They need to be smart. … We've got guys who have developed really good versatility. Certain weeks we feel that’s a good matchup for us, and we're not hesitant at all to use it."
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger called out wide receiver Antonio Brown for losing his temper on the sideline during last Sunday’s victory over the Ravens and also said he thinks it’s his job as a quarterback to do that when he thinks one of the team’s players is acting in the wrong manner.
Brown apologized on Twitter earlier in the week for his outburst, which involved knocking over a Gatorade bucket, and he did so again verbally on Friday. Brown also said he spoke to Roethlisberger to let the quarterback know how “grateful” he is to “the guy who’s given me every opportunity.”
“It’s not about me. It’s about the Steelers,” Brown said, via ESPN.com. “We all make mistakes as players. Sometimes I might miss a read. I don’t see Ben throwing me under the bus if I drop the ball or if I run the wrong route or didn’t get my depth. I don’t see him kicking the cooler. It’s no excuse for my behavior. I’m glad [Roethlisberger] did what he did. He called me out. As a general of our team, he has every right to call anything out. … I’m just grateful we have a great leader who’s forgiving and accommodating and willing to talk to me.”
Assuming Brown doesn’t fling any inanimate objects around the sideline against the Jaguars this weekend, that should put the matter to rest and allow full attention to be focused on improving to 4-1 on the season.
Though the Jaguars are ranked as the best in the NFL in least passing yards allowed and most sacks with their pass rushers and elite cornerbacks, their run defense is also ranked as the league's worst.
After watching Le'Veon Bell carve up the Ravens last week for 144 yards, Todd Haley and the Steelers have to be looking at the opportunity in front of them as a chance for the running game to look the best that it has all season.
We take a look into the film room to show how this can happen: