Big Ben frustrated with Haley’s ‘dink-and-dunk’ offense

BY ZACK KELBERMAN, syndication

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has had a mixed relationship with his new offensive coordinator Todd Haley this season. Photo by: Jeffrey Beall / Flickr

When the Steelers tabbed Todd Haley as offensive coordinator, replacing the oft-criticized Bruce Arians, it was thought he’d bring along with him a pass-happy, downfield attack, utilizing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s big arm and the troika of weapons surrounding him.

But it hasn’t been the case. Pittsburgh currently employs the No. 17-ranked offense and has failed to establish a consistent rhythm, much to the chagrin of a frustrated Big Ben.

“Haley’s offense is not a big-play offense,” Roethlisberger said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It’s kind of a dink-and-dunk offense.”

One reporter asked Roethlisberger why the offense shies away from quick strike passes, especially after receiver Mike Wallace broke loose for an 82-yard touchdown last week.

Ben’s response was telling.

“There’s a guy calling the plays. That’s on him,” he said. “Sometimes, we’ll call something long, and it’s just not there. For us, the big thing is that when we get into the red zone, we don’t get complicated. We need to finish drives.”

A few weeks ago, speculation surfaced that Haley and Roethlisberger were “butting heads,” and the two just did not see eye-to-eye from a philosophical standpoint. Even more recently, their relationship was categorized as “not good.” Though they’ve predictably denied both claims, it’s evident there’s a difference in opinion between QB and OC on a 2-3 team that has struggled in 2012.

Much of the Steelers’ issues goes beyond them, however. An anemic rushing “attack” — 31st overall — and the usual musical chairs-type of rotation along the offense line forces Roethlisberger into tricky situations and, consequently, Haley into questionable playcalls.

The Steelers can right the ship with a win over the division-rival Bengals on Sunday Night Football, but another poor offensive outing will do nothing to placate the lingering disconnect between Roethlisberger and Haley.

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