PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley spoke Thursday, addressing a variety of questions in advance of Sunday night’s game in Detroit.
From Martavis Bryant’s benching following his social media comments to play-calling criticisms from his quarterback, Haley had no shortage of inquiries.
On Wednesday, Bryant was sidelined by Mike Tomlin for publicly ripping teammate and fellow wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster on Instagram, while publicly declaring that he would like a trade if his role is not improved.
The void left by Bryant, who is Pittsburgh’s second leading pass catcher by yards, will open up chances for a perceived deep stable of offensive options who have generally underperformed this season.
“Depending on how the game goes, it will obviously give opportunities to somebody,” Haley said. “We’ll see who takes advantage of them.”
One of those candidates could be Smith-Schuster himself, who was able to fully participate in practice Thursday after being in the league’s concussion protocol earlier in the week.
Haley also responded to comments from Ben Roethlisberger earlier in the week in which the Steelers signal caller suggested utilizing fullback Roosevelt Nix and opting for quarterback sneaks in short-yardage situations.
“We actually had a play a couple of weeks ago that was going to be handed off to Rosie and Ben threw it,” he said, tongue-in-cheek. “Rosie is doing real good things for us and he’s a great story.”
Haley was not as receptive to the idea of having Roethlisberger risk an injury, despite facetiously saying that they may put a sneak into the offensive game plan.
“Some staffs choose to not let people earhole their quarterback in the side of the head,” said Haley, who was seemingly surprised that Roethlisberger made the suggestion. “Other staffs take that risk at times.”
Despite Smith-Schuster back at practice, as well as guard David DeCastro, who had a non-injury related absence from the field Wednesday, the Steelers could be without three starters in Detroit.
Offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert, tight end Vance McDonald and defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt all did not participate in practice for the second consecutive day.