Their professional relationship began with each party seemingly unwilling to pick up a phone before the other.
But after two seasons spent occasionally butting heads, Ben Roethlisberger and Todd Haley have a singular vision regarding the direction in which the Steelers’ offense should head in 2014.
That became apparent this week at veteran mandatory minicamp.
On consecutive days, independent of one another, the two were asked about the Steelers’ running game and the significance of the role it would play this season.
It was almost as if the offensive coordinator and the quarterback had compared notes.
Haley: “I think running the football, whether we are huddling or no-huddling is something we are going to do better, a lot better. And I think that will only help everything we do because, I’ve said this before, I believe we will be able to throw with anybody.
“When you can throw it as well as we did with the run game not exactly where we wanted it that tells you that you have a chance to be good. When you are running the football it makes throwing it a heck of a lot easier. Running the football is a big part of what we have to do here.”
Roethlisberger: “Getting the run (game going) is big for us because we use it a lot in the no-huddle. We used it a lot when we had Le’Veon (Bell) back and healthy. Now, I think we have a great complement to him in LeGarrette (Blount) and even Dri Archer.
“I think it will be a good weapon for us. We have to make sure that we utilize it because it then opens up the passing game with the play-action. When you have a good run game you can really open up some things down the field.”
The two might as well start conducting their press conferences together.
Doing so would probably go a long way toward once and for all clearing up the misconceptions that have lingered throughout the Haley-Roethlisberger Era.
Those would include:
-The perception that Haley wants to run the ball to avoid having to let Roethlisberger call the shots in the no-huddle.
-The notion that Roethlisberger wants to run all no-huddle all the time because all he wants to do is throw it all over the yard.
-The contention that the two cannot co-exist in a manner that’s acceptable to both.
-The suspicion that Haley is getting fired and/or Roethlisberger is getting traded.
The less-publicized, more-impactful issues on offense the past two seasons have been, in no particular order, turnovers, sacks, poor line play, injuries and … wait for it … lack of a consistent running game.
The Steelers have gone to great lengths the past two seasons to address all of the above and will continue hammering away until they get them fixed this season.
The OC-QB thing has long since taken care of itself.