The biggest surprise about Wednesday’s news regarding the in-game brouhaha between Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Steelers receiver Antonio Brown is that the player involved was Brown and not quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
But there’s a belief that, in time, Haley and Roethlisberger will have their Hank and Walter moment.
“I don’t think it’s warm and fuzzy,” Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently told PFT Live regarding the relationship, “but I do think it’s improved since last season. Now that can unravel as well. Todd made some strides in trying to reach out to Ben and they agreed to go over the playbook, throw some plays out, change some names of ones that were familiar to them before. So they were taking steps in that direction but you know, there’s an undercurrent here right now at 0-2 that’s not good, so I think we could even see more of stuff like this Antonio Brown come out even with others. I’m saying I think the relationship was good, or getting better, but you know, again, at 0-2 there’s a lot of stuff going on and it can only get worse.”
The relationship between Haley and his immediate boss can get worse, too. Especially with coach Mike Tomlin talking openly about the team’s struggles to produce when it has the ball.
“[W]e aren’t scoring enough points — 19 points in two football games is not going to win a lot of football in this league,” Tomlin recently said, via Bouchette. “If you would have told me we would have scored 19 points through the first two games, I would have told you we would have had an opportunity to be 0-2.”
Tomlin stopped short of specifically saying that there’s an issue with play calling, but he implied it.
“There’s been a problem with our functioning,” Tomlin said. “There’s been a problem with our production. There’s been a problem with our points. You can point to whatever you want to point to in regards to that, and, obviously, if the plays aren’t working well, then we’re susceptible to that judgment.”
It leaves Haley susceptible to judgment day, which some think could come after Week Four, when the Steelers would have two weeks to get his replacement (the current buzz centers on running backs coach Kirby Wilson) up to speed.
The chatter surely will die down if the Steelers beat the Bears on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. As illustrated in the Week Three PFT Picks, I believe the home team will hold serve. Which means that Haley will hold his job.
At least for now.