Ward: Blame Roethlisberger, not Haley

Getty Images

Former Steelers great Hines Ward has a little more “elevator music” for the folks responsible for the current mess in Pittsburgh.

And Ward’s current target is a guy who may not comfortably fit in most small-to-moderate elevators.

At a time when calls are increasing for offensive coordinator Todd Haley to hit the road, Ward says that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger deserves plenty of blame — especially as it relates to the implementation of the no-huddle offense that Roethlisberger wanted to use more extensively.

“I put the blame on Ben Roethlisberger,” Ward said on Wednesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN.  “Todd Haley’s not calling the plays [in the no-huddle], Ben is.”

Ward’s right, but Haley is still the architect of the offense, crafting the plays that are available to Roethlisberger in the no-huddle attack, and supervising the entire process of getting the right players in the right position at the right time to score as many points as possible.

For now, it’s unclear what changes will be made if the Steelers continue to struggle.  The organization prides itself on continuity at head coach, with only three of them since 1969.  But it’s easier to keep coaches when the team is thriving.  In the 36 years before Chuck Noll was hired, the Steelers had a revolving door at the position, with 11 coaches lasting three years or fewer.

Regardless of how it plays out, it’s the first major test for the grandson of team founder Art Rooney, who will have to decide whether the patience of the past still represents the best approach for a franchise that may need a much greater sense of urgency and accountability.

63 responses to “Ward: Blame Roethlisberger, not Haley

  1. Right, so let me make sure that I understand this correctly – a engineer designs a car, and the driver doesn’t drive correctly and wrecks and you think that it is the engineer’s fault.

    Good one.

    It might be Haley, it might also be that Ben is either acting like a petulant child OR that Ben just doesn’t understand. Either way, that is on Ben for not trying to resolve his issues.

  2. Funny Hines, the only time the offense really moves with any effectiveness and balance is WHEN IT IS IN THE NO HUDDLE. It is when they allow Haley to call 12 straight running plays and stall in the redzone that the offense looks like a Pee-Wee team.

    Watch the games before commenting, Hines. I love ya, man, but your comments are 100% incorrect.

  3. It’s never really that much of a fruitful expedition to assign blame to players when it comes to performance, unless there is some kind of intentionally reckless neglect of effort. Players for the most part are just doing their best, and if they aren’t good enough to get the job done to the level you expect, then it’s up to the next line of people in charge to either coach those players up, or for the next line beyond that to coach those coaches up, or the next line up and so on until you have everybody coached up or replaced if they cannot win to a satisfactory level.

  4. What about the horrible O-line, or lack of depth at WR? All I’m saying is other teams make it work with way less than what the Steelers have.

  5. It’s been no secret to Steelers fans that Roethlisberger and Ward never liked one another. In my opinion, that’s what this comment is all about.

  6. Big Ben isn’t playing his best football now obviously. But there is plenty of blame going around except him. Your qb is only as good as your receivers getting open and besides Antonio Brown no one else seems to be doing that. Wheaton and Lance Moore/Justin Brown need to step up to the plate.

  7. It seems when Ben plays well the defense doesn’t; and when the defense shows up, Ben looks like Ryan Leaf out there. Unfortunately, Ben has not played well for most of the season. Some of it may be the scheme, but he has missed a ton of throws.
    We need a real TE behind Heath. How that total waste of Spaeth is still on the roster is beyond me? Will Johnson, a very solid blocking FB, inexplicably rots the bench week after week. Running the ball is their strength right now, so insert the damn fullback and move the pile!
    Another draft year and another season of our 2nd rounder and 4th rounder rotting the bench. Have they even thrown one regular season ball to Martavis Bryant?

  8. Umm word on Pittsburgh talk radio is Haley is also calling plays in no huddle. Take that for what it’s worth. Many rumors fly around, but I heard Haley wanted more control and is calling the no huddle plays this year. Ben only called them last year.

  9. With their remaining schedule and roster, it’s highly probable the Steelers finish at, or near 8-8 again. I’m not sure Steelers fans will accept that 3 years in a row.

  10. So you’re saying we should scrutinize the aging quarterback of a perennial 8-8 team to see if he’s part of the problem? You obviously do not understand the “Steeler way”.

  11. I would tend to agree with Tomlin’s comments earlier in the week. Hines may have been close to the team but Tomlin coaches it. While I get the frustration in Pitt, I just can’t believe that Tomlin went from Super Bowl winning darling to needing to be fired.

  12. I believe Ward has alway disliked big Ben and takes a shot at him every chance he can even when his facts are totally off.

    During the 6-2 run last yr when they scored 28 pts per game Ben called all the plays in the no huddle and lit up the score board . In week one against Cleveland he lit up the board again for 27 pts in the first half and then the coaching staff decided to run the ball up the middle out of the huddle for the entire second half and since then have used the no huddle sparingly.

    Ben has been spectacular his entire career out of the no huddle, the steelers as a organization just refuse to commit to it no matter how good it is because the top brass wants to cater to the fans and be known as a running/defensive team.

  13. As good as Ward was on the field he’s just dreadful on the TV airwaves….he’s only beaten by analyst Dave Diehl.

  14. Hines is right. Roethlisberger audibles out of a helluva lot of plays that are sent in from the sideline.

    Though no Haley fan, much of this should be on Ben.

  15. He will never blame Tomlin .. He’s a Steeler and the coaches can Dino wrong… No matter how inept

  16. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if it is Ben or Todd at fault. If Roethliberger doesn’t play well in Haley’s system, one of them needs to go. Are you getting rid of a franchise quarterback in a league that doesn’t even have 30 starting caliber QBs or are you going to get rid of an OC and bring in one of the many that can get the job done?

  17. Blame can go everywhere. Tomlin, Haley, Ben, WR’s, O-line, dropped passes, fumbles, etc. No one piece of the puzzle is going to fix it. I love Hines, and I love even more that Ratbird fans still hate him.

  18. Madden claims – and DK agrees that even in the no huddle Haley is making the play calls – and it looks like Ben is waiting to hear the call before prepping for the snap.

  19. Why is it all of these former players feel like they have to put in their 2, cents? Their opinions on their former team are correct and they have all of the answers? Just Shut Up Mr. Ward, you don’t play any more.

  20. I’m starting to come to the conclusion that no Steeler ex-wr has anything nice to say about Ben.

  21. Ok every Steeler fan should be able to see that Ben has had some issues this year. Is he wildly off target on his throws and have a ton of picks this year? I haven’t seen that myself. I have seen sideline passes that may have sailed a little to far out to be caught. I also see AB being the only reliable WR, while Wheaton has shown good signs he has also shown his bad. Ben and Wheaton seem a little out of sorts at time but that could be just working on there timing, wasn’t Wheaton out all last year. As far as blame pointing on the offense Ben has shown over his career that he has been successful, which coaching job of Haleys has lasted longer then Ben’s stent with the Steelers. I believe our offensive numbers have been dropping every year since Haley’s offense was in place.

  22. Yeah yeah whatever. Ben is far from the only thing wrong with the Steelers offense, much less the Steelers in general. He has a qb rating of 93, although it was 100 before last week. He has just 3 ints and 5 turnovers total in 6 games, which isn’t too bad if the line could keep him from being hit so much. The Steelers are 7th in the league in passing yards and 2nd in rushing yards. They average 4.9 yards per carry as a team! So how come they can’t score? There’s plenty of blame to be passed around.

  23. Ben was a-ok when he was throwing to Hines but now that the team is struggling it’s time to pile on more crap and start more drama.I’ll be the first to admit Ben isn’t playing up to his level, but neither are the other 21 guys that take the field.The last thing they need is ex players bashing them.It’s all internal,the team has no leadership from top to bottom and it’s trickled down to the field.It has nothing to do with X’s and O’s.

  24. Pitt is 31st of 32 teams in red zone efficiency…..if they don’t fix that,they’ll be 8-8 and out of the playoffs AGAIN! I don’t care who or how,just fix it already.

  25. How’s that Steeler draft working out? I can’t believe all the idiots and critics that thought the Steelers drafted better than the Ravens. Or thought the Steelers would win the division while the Ravens finish last. Ozzie is at the top of his game. Best GM in football. I guess winning SB’s is last place. Patriots and Broncos are anther joke.

  26. How many teams will boast a top offense and defense come December? Ravens. Bring the lambs to the slaughter. That’s the night that the lights went out in Georgia.

  27. Hines, one Rodney Harrison is enough. And the team has so many problems, it’s pointless to lay blame on any one person.

  28. I’d say Big Ben is responsible for missing reads and salary cap woes. He’s the franchise’s first 100 million dollar player.

    But Haley is responsible for having the Fullbacks, backup fullbacks and backup tight ends in the no huddle. Archer should be playing and when he does, running streaks and post patterns, not bubble screens. Heyward-Bey as well.

  29. Hey Ward, we all know you have to cover your @ss to keep you mickey mouse job as a commentor but throwing Ben under the bus really stinks. It’s gonna take you 15 years to get to the HOF. It will take Ben 5!

  30. #shotgunformation5wide, Salary cap woes? the woes are gone dickhead! Do you expect Ben to play for less the the top Q.B.’s in the league? The Steelers are down now but they won’t stay down and all you band wagon fans can jump back on!

  31. Ben is the farthest thing from being the problem, on this team. Haley, by his own admission, has called 73% of the plays, including no-huddle plays. Haley has handcuffed Ben & crippled this offense since he got here & this season has been the worst yet. Hines should really do some research before he says something this stupid again or, better yet, just keep his mouth shut.

  32. 86 is right…. 7 is the problem…
    7 knows that haley is a jerk and he is reacting badly towards him and it is showing up on the field… Yeah Haley calls a lousy set of plays and is predictable beyond belief but Ben needs to execute no matter how bad the play calling is….
    We’ve all had bad bosses… so do we suck just because they suck?????

  33. “Haley also said he is calling about 73 percent of the offensive plays and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is responsible for the other 27 percent when he runs the no-huddle.”

    great story Hines….glad you did your research!

  34. Roethlisberger told Alan Robinson of the Tribune-Review that he called all the red-zone plays in Jacksonville. He added that he had “no regrets.”
    Secondly, the only less efficient red-zone offense in the league, behind the Steelers’ offense, is Bruce Arians’ offense in Arizona.
    The Cardinals are winning with defense. Arians ought to feel right at home.

  35. @cup1981 it’s not when we run that we stall it’s when we pass and get incompletions that we stall, which happens more in the no huddle, or when we call passes on 3rd and 1 or after bell just ran for 21 yards in 3 carries and we call 3straight pass plays all incompletions or totaling less than 9 yards. Running the ball more will help just like it’s helping Tony Romo right now. Bell needs 20+ carries a games and not just in garbage time or before half but on meaningful downs Ben needs to stop throwing so much. We should be running more than throwing every game

  36. @cup1981 it’s not when we run that we stall it’s when we pass and get incompletions that we stall, which happens more in the no huddle, or when we call passes on 3rd and 1 or after bell just ran for 21 yards in 3 carries and we call 3straight pass plays all incompletions or totaling less than 9 yards. Running the ball more will help just like it’s helping Tony Romo right now. Bell needs 20+ carries a games and not just in garbage time or before half but on meaningful downs Ben needs to stop throwing so much. We should be running more than throwing every game

  37. @steelersynasty2010 ever think it’s the 27% that the steelers don’t do well on? We do have a top 10 offense right now, but so far it’s the opposite problem we had with Adrian’s, Adrians offense only looked good when Ben no huddled, Haley’s offense looks good until Ben no huddles. Same result tho with top 10 offense in yards but bad redzone work

  38. @keiselsbeard same answer check post above, the offense looks good until we start passing to random WRs not named Antonio, weather it’s Justin lance Markus or DHB they all make the passing game look worse than it should.

  39. @EVERYONE Haley isn’t the problem, Ben isn’t even the problem, nor Tomlin, or age on defense, it’s a total lack of talent. Ben can run no huddle because we don’t have enough talent at WR to pass to anyone other than Antonio Brown. Haley can’t just call run plays to Le’veon bell like he wants to because after the 3rd or 4th carry in a row teams just stack the box and double AB. If teams do that we have no chance to win games. It’s a shame you ppl on here can’t see that. Wheaton, Moore, Heyward-Bey, Justin Brown, Miller, Blount, Archer, combined are getting too many chances with out enough success period. Their combined touches need to be split in half and given to bell and brown if we do that the offense will look better.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.