PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley joined The Fan Morning Show Friday, and much of the conversation revolved around the evolution of Haley’s relationship with his players.
Haley says that he made a lot of progress with the team during his first year.
“I can already feel such a difference,” Haley said. “As last year progressed, I started to feel more comfortable. You could tell the players were getting more comfortable and I just think that comes with time, and there’s no way to really expedite that when there are new parties involved.”
He said that having that first season under his belt gave him a better feel for what he has to work with.
“The more time you have with players, the more you understand what they do best,” Haley said. “And going through a full 16-game season is the best way to see that.”
While there have been rumblings of Haley’s relationship with his players turning sour at times, Haley told The Fan that his first couple of years haven’t been all that different from his first year or two with other teams.
“The uniqueness of this situation was generally … because they had some tough times, you were coming in as a group and doing your thing,” Haley said. “I was coming into a situation that had been a highly successful team for many, many years, but my relationship with the players last year was no different than any first year of anywhere that I’ve been. And year two feels a lot like year twos of everywhere else I’ve been.”
“Starting a relationship with anybody you meet, that you work with, make friends with, whatever it is,” he added, “as time goes on, you get to know each other and the comfort level increases.”
Haley’s relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been one of the biggest Steelers story lines over the past year, but Haley told The Fan that he doesn’t take Roethlisberger’s penchant to improvise for granted.
“I’d take an elite quarterback any day of the week,” he said. “I’ve been in places where I haven’t had one. I’ve been lucky enough to have been with a couple, but Ben is at the top of the list and I think there are even better things to come. It’s one of the unique qualities he has that helps make him great — I think he’s great as a pure drop-back passer, but at the same time, when things break down, I don’t know if there’s anybody better at keeping plays alive and making big plays when you need it most.”
The interview can be heard here: