Q&A with the OC

SCI.net's Mike Prisuta interviews Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley:

The offense remains a story at St. Vincent College, from wide receiver Mike Wallace's absence to wide receiver Antonio Brown's contract extension to the day-to-day spotlight on the rookie offensive linemen.

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley broke some of all that down on Friday, prior to the Steelers announcing the long-term extension for Brown:

Q: Kevin Colbert has said the Steelers are in adjust-move forward mode without Mike Wallace. Does that involve any schematic or philosophical changes for the offense?

A: "No, it really can't. As coaches we have to just coach the guys that are out there. Obviously hoping that we see Mike soon because he's a good player that can be a big part of what we're doing. But as coaches, we have to just coach the guys that are out there and be ready to roll every day.

Q: What's been your impression of the other receivers?

A: "This is a unique, exciting, young group. The veteran guy is Jerricho (Cotchery), who I thought a lot of coming out (of North Carolina State in 2004). He's really a true pro, good guy to be around not only for us coaches but especially for those young players. They need a guy like that to kind of watch and learn the ropes, even the guys that have been around a couple years.

"Antonio (Brown), he's a guy that I'm just really excited about working with and being on the same side of the ball with. Last couple of years having to get ready for him was always a task.

"Emmanuel (Sanders), another guy that was always on the radar for the spots I've been. He has a chance to be a real good player in the league.

"You have some young guys that look like they want to try to get in the mix. It's an exciting group to be around on a daily basis."

Q: You actually still remember Cotchery's draft year?

A: "Oh, yeah. I was at Dallas. I actually went down to his workout and did a lot of work on him. We were always in the hunt for a receiver. He went long before we took one (fourth round) but he's been a guy that made my grade look right."

Q: I'm assuming Sanders fills Wallace's spot, at least temporarily. He's had a hard time staying healthy. But when healthy does he have the kind of ability to fill that role?

A: "Injuries are part of the game. You get some of these guys that aren't quite as big, they have to prove that they can hold up for a 16-game season. It has nothing to do with toughness with him. He's a tough guy that goes 100 percent every play, run and pass. He'll block, run with the football. Those guys, they just gotta kind of prove they can hold up at a little lesser size than some of the other guys."

Q: In setting the depth chart will you look at a certain standard of play and who can meet it or are you trying to figure out in advance what you want to do and then looking to who can do that?

A: "The way I've been raised and taught is you better coach the guys you got and figure out a way to be the best you can possibly be with those guys. I'm really excited about this whole group. I think we have a chance to be good if we can stay healthy and then do it the way we need to do it. But there's a lot of ability starting up front and moving all the way through.

"Obviously, it starts with Ben (Roethlisberger). He's a guy I'm really excited about being around."

Q: Is it up to the position coaches to determine starters? How much of a say do you have in that?

A: "We're together all the time (as a staff). A lot of discussion goes into that area, the depth chart, who's where, who's moving up, who's moving back, who's giving us the best chance to succeed. As a group, along with ‘Coach T' (Mike Tomlin), we'll try to get it right."

Q: Will you try to do that by a specific point of the preseason or do you play the preseason out and then figure it out before the regular-season opener?

A: "I'm not real robotical about anything that I do. We'll feel our way through, and it'll usually come to light as you move forward. It'll be pretty obvious when things start settling in."


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