When you have an offense full of weapons like the Pittsburgh Steelers do, the play calling has to take advantage of them. The game plan might focus on one of them more than the others, but they all must be involved. Each game plan must have balance and each play must set up the next. In short, the game plan must allow the offense to find it’s rhythm while using every weapon it has. There shouldn’t be any confusion over what’s coming next. Good offenses dictate the action, forcing defenses to react. Nobody feels the flow of the game, or how to attack a defense, better than Ben Roethlisberger. Todd Haley is a good offensive coordinator, but he’s stubborn, and tends to handcuff Roethlisberger at the worst possible times. He needs to let Roethlisberger call the plays against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Steelers enter the postseason as a team that is just hitting its stride. The defense is slowly adjusting to life without Ryan Shazier, Joe Haden has returned, and Roethlisberger’s elite once again. The Steelers have had a season full of challenges and adversity and successfully faced them all. Their last challenge, a loss to the New England Patriots, galvanized their belief that they can win it all. It also emphasized an ongoing issue over the last few years, one that has cost the Steelers games. Haley and Roethlisberger aren’t always on the same page when it matters most. The confusion following the overturned touchdown that evening was inexcusable. The Steelers can’t afford that in the postseason.
Is Roethlisberger or Haley to Blame?
It’s easy to blame either Roethlisberger or Haley when they aren’t on the same page. Publicly, Haley has said Roethlisberger can audible out of any call he sees fit to do so. Why would Roethlisberger respond publicly, to the confusion at the end of the Patriots game, with this statement? “It wasn’t a fake spike,” Roethlisberger said. “I was yelling ‘clock it’ because I felt like that was the thing to do, was clock it and get yourself one play. It came from the sideline, ‘Don’t clock it. Don’t clock it.” On other occasions when questionable plays were called, and failed, Roethlisberger stated “That was the play that was called.”
If Roethlisberger truly has the ability to change any play, why wouldn’t he have audibled to a better option? There truly does seem to be a disconnect between the two men. It makes no sense that Roethlisberger would would pass on a better play in a crucial situation. It’s hard to imagine Roethlisberger would bypass a better option to win, just to throw Haley under the bus. Roethlisberger plays to win, and nobody competes harder to do so. So what is the solution to avoid all future confusion, especially in the postseason? Let Roethlisberger call his own plays.
The Steelers run for a seventh Super Bowl title begins Sunday. Their championship window, due to a young nucleus, remains open as long as Roethlisberger is under center. No quarterback feels the flow of the game better than he does. It makes sense at this point to give him full control of the offense and put this title run in his hands. He knows the offense like the back of his hand and has an innate feel for what will work. Roethlisberger was the best quarterback in the NFL over the last half of the season and is the key to another Lombardi Trophy.
Roethlisberger has become an elite quarterback under Haley’s system. In addition to becoming one of the best pocket passers around, Roethlisberger is one of the least hit quarterbacks as well. The only thing left for Haley to do is let Roethlisberger call the plays. This Sunday he begins his revenge tour against the Jaguars. Roethlisberger’s not throwing five picks this time around, and he’s bringing some good Juju with him. JuJu Smith-Schuster is Roethlisberger’s newest weapon, who hadn’t yet emerged in week five. Between Smith-schuster, Antonio Brown, and a renewed chemistry with Martavis Bryant, the vaunted Jaguars secondary will be overtaxed.
Last Word on Jaguars vs Steelers
The defense doesn’t have to be spectacular in this game, just steady, because this one belongs to Roethlisberger. If Haley is smart he’ll stay out of his quarterback’s way and let him do his thing. He’ll turn over the keys to the offense and let Roethlisberger call the plays from start to finish and let him win the game. See, Haley thought he won a Super Bowl before when he was with the Arizona Cardinals. That is until Roethlisberger took over and snatched championship glory away from him. The fact is, if Haley left tomorrow, the Steelers could still win the Super Bowl because of Roethlisberger. If Roethlisberger walked away tonight, there’s no way Haley is winning one for the Steelers, let alone the game on Sunday.
View the original article on Last Word On Pro Football: Let Ben Roethlisberger Call the Plays in the Postseason