... Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley made no bones about what his desires are for the unit he has been charged to oversee.
"(The) emphasis is on winning," Haley said Thursday when asked if he will place a greater emphasis on running the football. "There is a very high expectation here in the city of Pittsburgh.
"We have one goal and that is very clear. We want to win as many games as we can, and play in those big games that we just had to sit and watch, which isn't a lot of fun."
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who introduced Haley to the media Thursday, nodded in agreement.
Tomlin made no mention of team president Art Rooney II – who has been accused by some of meddling in the coach's business by forcing the firing of former coordinator Bruce Arians – when introducing Haley. In fact, Tomlin said the decision to hire Haley, son for former Steelers personnel man Dick Haley, was his.
"When I started this process of exploring for potential coordinators, I talked to a lot of people and did a lot of research," Tomlin said. "I was really impressed by him, not only by his resume and experience but also his genuine love for the Pittsburgh Steelers. That was a unique element for me, one that I have been attracted to in the past.
"I will always be interested in guys that know what the standard is for the Steelers. I can speak to the acquisition of Coach Carnell Lake and Coach Jerry Olsavsky. Haley is another man that knows what it's all about to be a Steeler. He legitimately embraces the standards that are ours."
Haley, the former Kansas City Chiefs coach and Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator, promises to bring a fresh approach to the table with the Steelers. And you can bet that the days of the offensive coordinator playing golf or going on vacation with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are over.
That, however, does not mean that Haley doesn't care. He just doesn't want to be a buddy or pal; he wants to win.
"One of the first things I will say to these guys is we aren't going to be real into a lot of sensitivity," Haley said. "If you are sensitive, this is probably not the best place to be. But I have to adhere to it too. I dish it out, but I have to take it. But this is a passionate, emotional game and you watch the playoffs, and everybody is a little different. I watch those Harbaugh guys, they are pretty into the games. It is about the end result."
Roethlisberger told another reporter Thursday that he has fielded calls from a lot of players around the league, some with good things to say about Haley, some with bad.
Roethlisberger said he'll take a wait-and-see attitude in regard to his own thoughts on Haley, but did add that he doesn't want to see the team's young receivers take a step backward while learning a new system.
In that respect, Haley doesn't expect major problems since he has worked with both Ken Whisenhunt and Ron Erhardt, a pair of former Steelers offensive coordinators.
"From a system standpoint, which is really just terminology to me as much as anything, which is a very important part of communication, there is a lot of carryover," Haley said.
He also promises an offense that will make the most of what the Steelers have offensively, pointing to his days with Arizona and Kansas City as an example.
Haley's 2008 Arizona team featured a prolific passing attack, while his 2010 Kansas City Chiefs club led the NFL in rushing.
"There is a lot of talk of systems in the NFL, offensively and defensively, and I am just a believer offensively that you do what gives you the best chance to succeed," Haley said. "So if your best chance to succeed is to run the ball 63 times a game, then you run the ball 63 times a game.
"I am going to do what gives our players the chance to be the best they can possibly be because generally when that is occurring you are doing well enough. I am not a statistics guy as far as end of the year stats, but I want to protect the football and score points."
(Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.)