Friday, November 15, 2013
Haley says he, Big Ben are just fine
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- Hodgepodge Friday: Leftovers from Steelers' headquarters this week:
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley agreed with sentiments expressed by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger earlier this week when the latter said on his weekly radio show that the two are working well together. "Through time and growth of relationships in general I would expect it to be moving in the direction that it is," Haley said. "It's been night and day going all the way back to training camp, and obviously we haven't had the results that we wanted so we're all disappointed where we are right now. I'll say it again, I think we've been on the cusp of being a pretty efficient, good offense, even with some adversity and moving parts. We just have to put a complete game together."
No one has had a more important job at Steelers' headquarters this week than wide receiver Derek Moye. The Steelers coaches tabbed Moye to emulate Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson in practice because the two are the same height -- each is listed at 6-5 -- and athletic. "Any time I'm out there giving the defense a look I always want to give them a representation of what they'll see on Sunday," Moye said. But Moye, who has two catches in his first NFL season, is also realistic about how much he can challenge the Steelers' starters while wearing No. 81, Johnson's number with the Lions. "There's only so much anybody can do to replicate Calvin Johnson," Moye said.
Running back Jonathan Dwyer remains third on the depth chart behind starter Le'Veon Bell and Felix Jones. But all signs point to the fourth-year veteran getting the bulk of the work behind starter Bell in the foreseeable future. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Haley are among those who have praised Dwyer this week, something he said he appreciates but also takes in stride. "Obviously that's what I'm trying to do when I go out there and play, earn more [opportunities]," Dwyer said, "but it's about what I do with those opportunities more than anything. I'm just trying to keep making plays each time I'm on the field."
Roethlisberger isn't necessarily bracing for a shootout Sunday, but Haley said the offense is going to have to score its share of points if the Steelers are to beat the Lions. "They're not a team that you're going to expect to go out and score seven, 10, 13 points," Haley said. "They're a prolific offense so we've got to do what we have to do to get the ball in the end zone." The Lions are averaging 26.4 points per game. That ranks seventh in the NFL -- just ahead of the Patriots, who hung 55 points on the Steelers a couple of weeks ago. "They obviously have some big-time players and can do a lot of things on offense," Roethlisberger said. "We can only control what we control offensively."
Dick LeBeau talked last week about the Steelers taking a simpler approach on defense going into the Bills game, and it worked. The Steelers held the Bills to under 100 rushing yard and didn't allow them to reach the end zone until the final play from scrimmage. "It was much better," LeBeau said of the defense's play in the 23-10 win, "but we have to be better than that. The next seven games will be very important to us in that respect. Our attention to detail, it's always been good on the practice field but in the [Bills] game it was much better. We need to continue in that vein."