Tag Archives: Todd Haley

5 Nearly-Extinguished Questions, In Honor of the Pro Bowl

img_2278Photo via Steelers.com  Tomlin is, apparently, not impressed by my questions…

I am going to be stealing questions from wherever I can find them this week, because it doesn’t seem  appropriate to try very hard, the week of the Pro Bowl. Feel free to leave equally lame answers…

1. Jim Wexell’s latest column for Steel City Insider has the following subtitle: “Do the Steelers need a disciplinarian? Not as much as they need an inside linebacker.” He makes the point that it isn’t unusual for star players to get special treatment. He makes many other interesting points, too, so read it if you can get past the paywall. In the meantime, agree or disagree?

2. Wexell also noted this tweet by one of the writers of Football Outsiders, as follows:

 

Wexell doesn’t buy into a conspiracy theory, more that there is an unconscious bias on the part of the refs, assuming that the Pats are doing things correctly. Your take?

Cold Old Steelers Fan helpfully wrote most of the rest of this column. So thanks, COSF, and here goes:

3. This is a great one – really more appropriate for Full Smoulder: “How will the Ben/Fitchner era look? Will Ben be calling all the plays or will Fitchner? Will there be conflict?”

4. And next: “Will Tomlin continue with the role of defensive play calling? Is that a good idea?” Interesting question, especially in light of the Haley hire in Cleveland apparently signalling the end of the Hue Jackson offensive play-calling era there.

Of course, it assumes a level of involvement in the defense that I’m not sure is quite correct. So bonus sub-question—how much do you think Tomlin was involved in the actual defensive play-calling this past season?

And finally, I’ll contribute:

5. If you could change one coaching decision (can be an in-game decision, or an overall philosophy decision), what would it be, and how would you expect it to affect the final outcome?

The Problem With Haley: Ivan’s View

By Ivan Cole

From a 2011 interview with Steelers super scout Bill Nunn:

Ivan Cole: I have been looking at what the Steelers have been able to do over the past 42 years. After all, Tony Dungy was originally part of the Chuck Noll coaching tree. Tomlin was part of the Dungy tree, meaning we’ve come full circle.

Bill Nunn: And who hired Tomlin? Dungy. The tree is really interesting. [But] Nepotism is becoming a great part of this now. With the salaries, they’re trying to get their kids into it.

Read more

The Todd Haley Question: Point/Counterpoint, Part 1

A7E66198-FE43-4516-B882-F530411F6299.jpegPhoto via USA Today Sports

Or so I suspect. Ivan commented in his responses to the 5 Smoldering Questions yesterday that he had too many thoughts to share in a comment format and that he would be writing them up. The reason I say “Point/Counterpoint” is that I expect our viewpoints are somewhat different.

But before I share my own thoughts, here are some from a commentor by the name of Wes Lee who left this on our Facebook page: Read more

5 Smoldering Questions on the 2017 Playoff Ruins

A132FC3E-BC23-42BC-BBE5-C4A2C17488A2.jpegPhoto via Steelers.com

By Hombre de Acero

If ever there was a week when circumstances would match the title of this column, it is this week. The Jacksonville Jaguars came into Heinz Field and embarrassed the Steelers to the tune of a 45-42, eliminating them from the playoffs and rendering their 2017 season a smoking ruin.

With that introduction, here are this week’s 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers 2017 Division Playoff loss.

1. A year ago the Steelers were without Cam Heyward, had Eli Rogers and DeMarcus Ayers as their number 2 and 3 receivers, played Ross Cockrell and William Gay as their number 2 and number 3 corners, yet made it to the AFC Championship. This year, save for Ryan Shazier, they were at full strength, with a 1st round bye, yet gave up 45 points to an offense that only managed 10 the week before, against the Buffalo Bills. 

What the hell happened?

2. Heads are already rolling on the South Side, with Todd Haley sent packing. Haley, in the tradition of Steelers offensive coordinators was a lightening rod for criticsm during his tenure and if social media is any guide, the vast majority of Steelers Nation is happy to see him go.

Yet, Haley was brought into save Ben from himself, and numbers don’t lie.

FFEEA694-C419-4988-9FCA-1858EFF85E74.png

Do you agree with the decision to part ways with Haley? Defend your choice.

3. Meanwhile, if Gerry Dulac’s reporting is correct, the entire defensive staff that oversaw and effort that tied the franchise record for most points given up in a playoff game will remain intact….

However, Mike Mularkey has been relieved of his duties in Tennessee which could make things interesting.

Assuming the new head coach doesn’t retain the assistants, and assuming Dick LeBeau would even listen to an offer—perhaps neither assumption is correct—but were he to become available, should the Steelers consider bringing back LeBeau in some sort of Assistant Head Coach Defense capacity?

4. It’s been reported on two occasions this season that the Steelers have prohibited Ben Roethlsiberger from making quarterback sneaks for fear of him being “Ear holed.” Do you agree or disagree?

5. You are Art Rooney II. Realistically, what do you say, or perhaps ask, Mike Tomlin in your year-end meeting?

That’s all for now. Depending on which stories develop, we may have another 5 Smoldering’s in the next week or so, if not we’ll certainly be back for free agency and the draft.

Until then, use your number 2 pencils, be sure to look at your neighbors paper, and by all means show your work.

I would like to express my thanks to Hombre for the great questions he comes up with for us, a task which he has to somehow fit into a very busy life with work, family, his own website, and travel. We will look forward to the next set of questions, whenever they hit my inbox : )

5 Smoldering Questions on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 12

NFL: DEC 04 Giants at SteelersThe Green Bay Packers arrived in Pittsburgh as two-touchdown underdogs and, in keeping with the tone and tenor of everything thus far this season, the game would of course go down to the wire as the Steelers pulled out a 31-28 win over the Packers thanks to Chris Boswell’s record-tying field goal.

Next week brings the Patrio… er um, sees the Steelers take the road to Cincinnati to face off against their AFC North rivals, the Bengals. But before Steelers Nation can cross its fingers and clutch its rosary beads ahead of their next encounter with Vontaze Burfict we must first resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers.

1. Ok, let’s begin by addressing Mike Tomlin’s decision to acknowledge the elephant in the room, namely that the Steelers and Patriots are the class of the AFC and that their match up with the at Heinz Field month will likely determine the playoff pecking order.

First, do you think Tomlin’s departure from “coach speak” either indicates a lack of focus or a lack of respect towards the Bengals and Ravens?

Second, regardless of your feelings on the first part of this question, do you worry that Tomlin might be tempting fate by engaging in a little of what Art Rooney Sr. might have termed “Putting on the dog?”

Defend your answer.

2. Martavis Bryant saw his first duty as a kick returner on Sunday night and provided the Steelers longest kick return of the season. Mike Tomlin has indicated he might get more chances there. Do you think it is wise for the Steelers to risk their defacto number 2 receiver on return duties?

3. A week ago I invited readers elsewhere to vote on game ball winners for the Steelers win over the Titans. Given that the Steelers offense had exploded for 40 points, Todd Haley’s name was on the ballot, and multiple votes were allowed. You can see the results here:

While this sample is in no way representative of the rest of Steelers Nation, do you agree with the decision of the voters to give Todd Haley a gigantic collective cold shoulder?

4. Since Joe Haden left the game against the Colts the Steelers defense has given up touchdown passes of 61 yards, 60 yards, 75 yards, 39 yards, 54 yards and 55 yards. Or, in slightly more sophisticated mathematical terms, the Keith Butler’s boys have allowed one 57 yard touchdown pass in ever 27 and half minutes of play. (In truth, the average is worse for the Steelers, since the first bomb came at the tail end of the 2nd quarter against the Colts.)

What’s going on and is this a problem that can be fixed if and when Joe Haden returns to the lineup?

5. A commonly held assumption is that the Steelers draft outside linebackers to pressure the quarterback, yet neither Bud Dupree nor T.J. Watt is close to leading the Steelers in sacks.

However, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo argues that the Keith Butler is using the duo as much in coverage as he is as pass rushers.

While this makes a certain sense, and Fittipaldo’s article is extremely well reported, we must also keep in mind that in 2015 and 2016 Steelers Nation was treated to continual leaks from the coaching staff about how Jarvis Jones was doing extremely well in run defense and coverage despite his low sack totals.

Do you think something similar might be at work here, particularly with Bud Dupree who is now in his third season?

You know the drill from here on out. Use only No. 2 dark pencils but do not use Faber Castells. You must show work to get full credit and looking at your neighbor’s paper is not only allowed, its encouraged.

Have at it.

Playing the Long Game

Photo via Steelers’com

In Ivan Cole’s follow-up post to the Vikings game, he made this point:

4) Haley. Rebecca was right for the most part about my reaction to one series in particular. [That would be the empty backfield on 3rd and 2.] I didn’t scream though, didn’t have to. There were enough other people around me screaming. Todd’s play calling logic eludes and concerns me at times. Let’s just leave it at that.

And then Cold Old Steelers Fan, always the voice of reason, left the following comment:

4) I cursed the bubble screens till I saw a fake bubble screen used to mask a run on 3rd and short in the Vikings game. Now I am thinking that Haley is playing a longer game than we are.

Read more

Opponent Preview: The Kansas City Chiefs

img_0451As Mike Tomlin might say, this isn’t my first rodeo writing about the Chiefs. The Steelers, as perhaps every sentient being in the English-speaking world is aware by now, beat the Chiefs not only handily but decisively in Week 4, thus leading the bipolar Steelers fan base to assume that “Pittsburgh’s Goin’ to the Super Bowl.” At least until they subsequently lost to the unregarded Dolphins. Read more

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