Ben Roethlisberger described publicly for the first time the uneasiness he and his teammates felt a year ago when new coordinator Todd Haley tossed out the offense they knew so well handed them a playbook filled with unfamiliar terminology and told them to learn it. “He brought it in and (said) 'Here's my stuff here's what we're going to do.' So it was hard for us to say 'Hey we were pretty doggone good last year what were we 12-4?'” Roethlisberger said Saturday on the first practice day of Steelers training camp. “We would say 'Oh we know this play it's the same thing we had but it's called completely different.' So why not call it the same thing? So there was a lot of frustration with that.” That resentment eased during a four-game midseason winning streak in which Roethlisberger mostly ran the no-huddle offense he prefers calling only the plays that Mike Wallace Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders knew well. Sometimes in the heat of the moment he went back to using the names the plays were called under former coordinator Bruce Arians. “The guys like it in the huddle because it's up tempo everybody's getting involved everyone is catching passes and we were pretty successful with it — that's probably the frustration (with the lack of it)” Roethlisberger said. But when Roethlisberger struggled after returning from a three-game injury layoff he criticized the play calling — specifically the lack of the no-huddle and the absence of second-half pass plays for tight end Heath Miller — following a difficult loss in Dallas. Still Roethlisberger told the Tribune-Review in a one-on-one interview that any perceived rift between him and Haley the former Chiefs head coach was fictional. “People blew up the hatred thing or the butting heads there was none of that” Roethlisberger said. “It was like any coordinator quarterback and head coach there's always going to be issues. I had them with BA (Bruce Arians) and coach Whis (Ken Whisenhunt). I think they got blown up.” Roethlisberger said he has a good working relationship with Haley who met during the offseason with the offensive coaches and players including center Maurkice Pouncey Miller and Roethlisberger and retooled the playbook to restore the vernacular that was familiar to them. “I think it was big of Todd to say ‘OK let's change it to things you are more comfortable with'” Roethlisberger said. “Not everything went to a change but it was nice we all got together and sat down and said ‘What makes sense to you what makes sense to you?'” Now the man who holds most of the Steelers career passing records said “We've come up with what I think is the best of all of us the best of all of the offense and what we can do together. I think our relationship has grown mine and Todd's and Todd's has grown with every player and every coach. You have to evolve and learn and that's why I'm excited about this year because I think it's is going to be good.” Feeling stronger than he ever has — he credits a new workout regimen that includes bicycle riding and kayaking — Roethlisberger is convinced that revamped offense will be fast-paced and consistently productive even without the fleet-afoot Wallace who signed with Miami and the absence of a large number of home run-type deep throws.
Roethlisberger admits ‘frustration’ with Haley’s system last season
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Jul 28