Friday, October 03, 2014

Todd Haley, Now's Your Chance

Over the past 36 games, the Steelers are 18-18, and the offense under Todd Haley has been up-and-down, off and on, hot and cold, and mostly, eh, so-so, during that span. This year has been more of the same: a hot first half vs. Cleveland, cold the next six quarters, clicking on all cylinders in Atlanta, and spotty vs. Tampa Bay.

Ray Mansfield, The Ol' Ranger,
setting the tone.
The mistakes are too many. Justin Brown's dropped pass in the end zone was reminiscent of Derek Moye's dropped pass in the end zone early last year. Haley can't control that sort of thing, and it must be frustrating for him (and for Ben Roethlisberger) to make the perfect play call, get the protection, throw the perfect pass -- and have the young receiver drop it. That's not the coordinator's fault.

The overall tenor and identity of the offense, though, is more or less set by the coordinator, head coach and quarterback. Three years after Haley's arrival, it is fair to say the Steelers still lack a cohesive, consistent identity on offense.

This week's visit to Jacksonville presents a perfect opportunity to set a tone and establish some continuity and a sense of identity.

The Jaguars are on pace to break NFL records for points and yards allowed in a season. That's according to Chris Burke at, who writes the following:
"The 1981 Baltimore Colts own the dubious distinction of having allowed more points than any team in NFL history: 533, during a 2-14 season. The 2012 Saints defense surrendered more yards than any squad before or since: a staggering 7,042.
The 2014 Jaguars could break both marks. 
"Jacksonville has lost its first four games by an average of 23.5 points, a stat that is embarrassing enough without considering that head coach Gus Bradley is known as a brilliant defensive mind. His team has had trouble proving it. 
"At 38 points allowed per game, the Jaguars are on pace to give up 608 points for the season -- 75 more than that record-setting Colts team. The 451.25 yards-per-game clip the Jaguars defense is allowing stretches out to 7,220 yards over a 16-game season. If there is any silver lining at all, it is that the Jaguars' points and yards allowed have dropped each week, from a 44-point, 529-yard showing by the Eagles in Week 3 to a 33-point, 407-yard effort from San Diego last Sunday."

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