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Thursday, September 5, 2013
A more comfortable Haley to call shots

By Scott Brown

PITTSBURGH -- It wasn't a question as much as a reporter relaying what starting wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders had said earlier.

That the Steelers players are more comfortable with Todd Haley this year. That the second-year offensive coordinator knows them better. That he better recognizes their strengths.

Pittsburgh's Todd Haley
Todd Haley is "light years away" from where he was with Ben Roethisberger and the Steelers' offense last year.
“Coach Sanders has a future,” Haley said.

He smiled. Then he laughed.

And it was not an awkward laugh but an easy one that corroborated Haley's claim of how much more comfortable he is going into the season opener than he was a year ago.

“It's light years away,” Haley said Thursday after practice. “Ben and I talked about that in training camp one day.”

The Haley-Ben Roethlisberger pairing drew most of the scrutiny when the Steelers made a change at offensive coordinator after the 2011 season. But that was only a small part of the transition Haley had to make when he joined the organization his father had helped build in the glorious 1970s.

One of the biggest reasons to think that the offense will be better is that Haley and Roethlisberger are in a better place than they were in 2012 because of their familiarity with one another.

“Change isn't always easy, it isn't always comfortable but if it's seen as a necessity then it has to happen,” Haley said. “I think that process has gone along and we're much further ahead at this point than we were a year and a half ago.”

Also notable from Haley's media session on Thursday: