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Todd Haley is fitting in perfectly as the Steelers' new offensive coordinator. One prominent personnel man calls him the team's "biggest acquisition." Mike Prisuta has the story.

LATROBE –The drill was designed to get quarterbacks thinking ‘check-down' and understanding where their options are when checking down.

A quick drop and a quick toss underneath or into the flat, repeat as necessary.

What made it interesting was that while Ben Roethlisberger took his turns, the guy snaking his way through the wash of where the linemen would be or curling out of the backfield was none other than offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Roethlisberger hit Haley repeatedly.

Haley didn't drop a single pass.

The two literally had a ball together.

So much for the theory that Roethlisberger and Haley can't co-exist.

There's much more work to be done, to be certain. The preseason games will be a much more definitive test. And we could yet see those two jaw to jaw on the sideline this season.

But for now the new offense is becoming old news at St. Vincent College.

"I really think he's a nice fit for us at this stage, I really do," General Manager Kevin Colbert said of Haley, the OC who replaced Bruce Arians. "You can see him fitting in. You can see the players buying in to what he wants to do.

"Now, of course, you're going to have to have success. If we don't have success it won't be (a nice fit). If we have success everything will come together and we're confident it will."

There's no reason not to feel that way based on what's taking place on the practice fields at training camp.

The offense remains a work in progress. But enough progress is being made that players and coaches are pleased with the progression toward that end.

The latest example was Tuesday afternoon's "no-huddle" work.

It was far from perfect. But it was assessed as much better than it had been in the spring. And it was good enough that one veteran said it no longer feels as if the Steelers are learning a new offense, but instead like it usually does at this time of the year, like they're simply preparing for an upcoming season.

Haley's fingerprints have been all over that.

But even more impressive has been the way he's handled his players, himself and the task at hand, even if that happens to be catching passes from Roethlisberger or throwing them to Ike Taylor during a lull in the action to allow the cornerback to continue his never-ending pursuit of more interceptions.

That's been no surprise to at least one member of the organization.

Newly-anointed player personnel coordinator Dan Rooney Jr. suspected all along Haley's football legacy as the son of former Steelers player and former Steelers personal guru Dick Haley would matter.

Now, even before the Steelers' first preseason game under the new offensive hierarchy, Rooney Jr. maintains that "the biggest acquisition I think we made was Todd Haley.

"I think he's a guy that understands Steelers-type football."

Although that's meant different things to different people at different times, Rooney Jr. retains a recognizable vision of what that entails even in these changing times.

"I think it means we're going to be an aggressive, hard-hitting football team," he said. "I'd be a fool to sit here and say nowadays we need to run the ball 40 times a game. The game has changed, the rules have changed, but I really believe our fans and definitely the Rooney contingent that still operates this team like a physical football team.

"We want to comply with (commissioner) Roger Goodell, the new rules and emphasis because I respect that. But at the same token I don't want to take away from the way we play football here."

For the Rooney contingent that still operates this team, any other agenda is going to be a deal-breaker eventually.

"Sometimes you let outside influences in and they don't know exactly what it's about," Rooney Jr. said. "If you don't understand what it's about you either learn it or you leave the organization."

At times such as those, such as these, the Steelers return to their roots.

And Haley, the Pittsburgh kid and the son of a Steeler, gets it.

Achieving that, the rest is just details.


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