It's being widely reported that former Kansas City head coach and Pittsburgh native Todd Haley will be named offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Haley most recently served as head coach of the Chiefs from 2009 to 2011 before being fired in December after posting a 19-26 record during his head coaching tenure.
Haley has a strong connection to the city of Pittsburgh which certainly helped him at least get his foot in the door. His father, Dick Haley, was the Steelers director of player personnel for 19 years and Haley graduated from Upper St Clair high school. He was also a ball boy for the Steelers. I don't buy into the notion that somebody has to be a "Pittsburgh guy" to coach here, but the Rooney's definitely know him and his family well and I don't think that hurt his chances of being hired.
Here's a look at how offenses have fared under Haley. He was the OC of the Cardinals in 2007-2008 prior to becoming the Chiefs head coach. Haley called the plays on-and-off while head coach at Kansas City.
|Year||Team||%Run||Rush Rank||%Pass||Passing Rank||Overall Rank|
|2009||Kansas City Chiefs||45%||11||55%||25||25|
|2010||Kansas City Chiefs||53.9%||1||46.1%||30||12|
|2011||Kansas City Chiefs||49.3%||15||50.7%||25||27|
A few things stick out when looking at these numbers:
Haley's two best seasons involved completely different strategies. 2008 and 2010 were both great years for him despite one being insanely pass heavy (2008 with Kurt Warner) and one being dominated by a rushing attack (2010 with Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones). He has adapted to the strengths of the roster every year.
That makes this stint with the Steelers interesting for him. The Steelers obvious strength is the passing game. They have an elite QB, 2 young, Pro Bowl-caliber receivers and running backs/tight ends who are solid, if not spectacular in the passing game. The team lacks a great running back and offensive line. Yet the Steelers ownership has expressed the desire to rush the ball more.
With the Rooney's making their "run the ball more" mandate so public, Haley has to be willing to answer if he's been given the job. The playcalling balance will be very interesting to watch for sure.
Final thoughts: Personally, I like the hire. It's a very un-Steeler like move for a couple of reasons. Haley is known for being a bit hot headed and doesn't seem to fit the Steelers mold of hiring quiet, unassuming assistants that nobody has ever heard of. The Steelers typically stay inside the organization for hires like these as well. I'm glad to see them take a little bit of a risk with this one. The offense could use some fresh ideas and promoting an Arians/Whisenhunt disciple wouldn't have been a very inspired hire. Haley helped developed one of the most explosive offenses in recent memory in Arizona and he has a lot of tools already in place in Pittsburgh to help him do that again. This should be somewhat of a dream job for him and he ought to be very motivated after the way things ended in Kansas City.