THURSDAY’S STEELERS BUZZ
By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — Todd Haley said there is no rift between he and star wideout Antonio Brown, and the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator added that there was no sideline confrontation between the two, either.
It was reported earlier this week that Brown, unhappy with the amount of times passes were thrown in his direction during the first half of the Steelers 20-10 loss to the Bengals, initiated an argument with Haley that remained an issue into the next day. Brown said he wasn’t complaining. He just “went to the person who controls the scheme of the game to see what he could do.”
Haley, basically, disputed the report.
“There’s no problem whatsoever between he and I,” Haley said. “And I didn’t see anything different in that game interaction-wise between he and I. … I thought it was just about what it always is, and when things aren’t going good and for things not going well, I thought those guys have handled it well. (So), it did not happen. There was no confrontation. So, that’s all I can say.”
Haley added that receivers wanting the ball isn’t a new development. That’s been the case, he said, with all the ones that he has coached for 12 years. The key is to keep lines of communication open between the players and coaches.
“From last year, through the offseason and into this year, there’s been a natural evolution of guys developing that trust and confidence to do it,” Haley said. “And I feel good interaction across the board. Now, the problem is that we’re not getting results, so that’s what needs to be fixed. We’re frustrated.
“We’re 0-2 during the first quarter of the season, and that’s all it is. We’ve got a chance, this week, to get to 1-2. We’ve had a good couple days and a good day of preparation on Tuesday. So, that’s the bottom line, to figure out a way to get to 1-2. And then from there, try to move forward. So, it’s the NFL.
“It’s hard to win when you have turnovers in plus-territory (past the 50-yard line) and run the ball inefficiently for too much of a game,” Haley added. “Those things are going to happen to you, but we have to make sure that they don’t continue to happen so that we have a chance to get to 1-2.”
Brown noted that he and Haley have discussed the player’s role in the offense.
“We just talked about things that we could do better as a whole and what we could do to get on the right page to start winning,” Brown said.
Haley believed that the solution was quite simple for the Steelers. They need to protect the football better and not turn it over.
“If you look at the situations where the ball was turned over, those are points,” Haley said. “We’re costing ourselves points. Do we want to score more points? Absolutely, yes. In the last game, our first eight third downs were all seven (yards) and longer. That’s going to be a rough day, no matter what’s happening. So, we’ve got to be better on first and second down.
“Whether we’re running it or throwing it, whatever we’re doing on those downs, we have to do it better. (And) maybe we can stay out of third down completely, because you can convert for first downs on second down and first down, and it also can keep you in manageable third downs that just over time you know you’re percentages are going to be better to convert.”