Steelers' Haley With Strict Agenda

Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley told SCI's Mike Prisuta that his second season back home will be built from the ground up.

Todd Haley's hard-earned reputation upon arriving back home in Pittsburgh was that of a guy who would win by any means necessary.

He'd thrown it all over the yard in Arizona and had come within a couple of minutes of beating the Steelers in the Super Bowl while doing so.

And he's run it down the other teams' throats in Kansas City and taken the Chiefs to the playoffs in the process.

That being the case, the Steelers' personnel and the matchups they'd create from week to week would dictate how they attacked opponents in 2012, or so the theory went.

Many expected a more balanced, a more efficient, and a more unpredictable offense than what Steeler Nation had seen recently under finally exiled former coordinator Bruce Arians.

It didn't work out that way.

Too many injuries, too many turnovers and too many headaches from week to week ruined Haley's homecoming.

"When you don't make playoffs and you don't get to compete in the tournament it's no fun," Haley acknowledged upon the opening of his second minicamp with his hometown team. "There's too much work and sacrifice to sit at home and watch some teams you may have beat or felt like you could beat continue to play.

"That's no fun, but being home is great, being a part of this great organization is where I want to be. We need to be better and I'm excited about being better and I think we have a chance to be better."

The Steelers had better be better.

Things degenerated throughout Haley's first season to the degree that he was still taking grief months after it had ended on Twitter, where he was even cited as responsible for the NHL Penguins scoring two goals in four games while being swept out of the Eastern Conference Final by Boston.

Haley's response – to the Steelers' 8-8 non-playoff campaign as opposed to the sarcastic Twitter criticism – has been to become a coordinator with an agenda.

And that agenda is to run the football.

"We have to run the football overall much more efficiently," he maintained. "We have to be productive running the football, which will get us into the red zone more. And then I think we'll be a pretty good red-zone team and we'll have a chance to win a bunch of games.

"The plan is to become a little more versatile from a running standpoint and that should hopefully make us better."

The "versatile" should come from new offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr.'s desire to make that unit more zone-blocking capable. The "better" should come from Le'Veon Bell meeting the organization's expectations of a No. 2 pick that's able to come in and consistently carry the load at running back. Bell, probably not so coincidently, ran a lot of one-cut zone stuff at Michigan State.

But however it works out, the Steelers intend to run the ball this year, as Haley repeatedly stressed on Tuesday, "much more efficiently."

Haley has no intention of going 0-for-2 after a rocky first season during which we never really saw the Haley/Steelers offense for any extended stretch.

"I think you saw glimpses of an efficient offense, especially when we were running the ball well," he said. "We didn't run the ball nearly efficiently enough. In my opinion, to be a great offense, that has to be a part of the equation.

"That doesn't mean you run it 40 times a game. You might run it 15 times a game but if you're an efficient running offense those are going to be productive runs that help you get in the scoring zone.

"You saw glimpses but you are what you are, or as my old boss, Bill Parcells, used to say, you are what your record is. We were 8-8 and that's not good enough but we have been and we'll continue to do everything possible to be better than that."

That'll start from the ground up.

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