As Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Steelers offensive coordinator inch toward a confrontation that coach Mike Tomlin regards as inevitable, Roethlisberger is fashioning a tapestry of passive-aggressive sound bites aimed at needling Haley or building support from the fans, or both.
Over the weekend, Roethlisberger referred to Halley’s offense as a “dink-and-dunk” attack. Though the term widely is regarded in football circles as derisive, Ben now saws that he actually is a fan of dinking and dunking.
“That wasn’t meant in a negative way,” Roethlisberger said Thursday, via Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “Coach Haley and I had a laugh about it this morning. To dink and dunk, that’s moving the chains, and it will open up big plays. The Patriots dink and dunk, too.”
And when those big plays come, maybe Roethlisberger will refer to the offense as “chuck and duck.” In a positive way.
Here’s the reality. The Steelers got rid of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians in part because he and Roethlisberger were regarded as being too close, to the point where there was real concern that Arians was creating game plans with an eye toward showcasing the quarterback, which could have impacted the broader effort to win games. Right or wrong, Haley’s presence is aimed in part at enhancing the overall effort by not allowing Roethlisberger to get too reckless with the ball or his body.
The fact that Haley has yet to engage Roethlisberger via the media is a good sign. The Steelers knew that it would take time for Ben to buy in to the new approach, and they’re wisely tolerating his periodic public pissing and moaning about dinking and dunking or chucking and ducking or whatever he may publicly piss and/or moan about.