One of the Pittsburgh Steelers biggest problems on offense in recent years has been scoring when they get into the red zone. The Steelers won a Super Bowl and had plenty of regular season success with Bruce Arians as their offensive coordinator, but two statistics forced the Steelers to move on.
The first was the amount of hits that Ben Roethlisberger was taking and the second was the team’s struggled inside the red zone. Todd Haley was brought in because his dink-and-dunk offense allows Roethlisberger to get rid of the ball faster, which means he takes fewer hits and should stay healthier.
Unfortunately Roethlisberger suffered a shoulder and rib injury in 2012 that cost him three games. However, his sack and hit numbers were way down in 2012 and that injury came against the Kansas City Chiefs and it was the only hit Roethlisberger took during the entire game.
Based on those stats Haley’s offense should help keep Roethlisberger healthier and help extend his career. Even so, the Steelers are hoping to get some better scoring out of their offense; especially when it comes to the red zone and hopefully that will happen in Haley’s second year with the team.
Last year the Steelers ranked 12th in the NFL in red zone scoring. They scored touchdowns on 55 percent of their trips into the red zone in Haley’s first year. That’s not a great percentage. Good would be anywhere above 60 percent and great offenses score touchdowns on over 65 percent of their trips.
That 55 percent is a bit exciting, though, given the Steelers previous percentages. In fact, during Arians tenure with the Steelers, 2007-2011, he led the offense to a percentage higher than 55 only once and it came in his first season with the team.
After that season the team’s touchdown percentages dropped to 55 percent, then to 49 percent. During his final two years with the team Arians led the offense to an average of 51 percent. Those numbers led the Steelers to moving on from Arians for those still wondering why they dumped him for Haley.
As far as Haley’s record goes he led the Cardinals to a 59.7 percent rating in 2008 when the team went to the Super Bowl. That’s higher than any rank Arians ever had with the Steelers; his highest being 59.3. In Haley’s first year with a rebuilding Chiefs team the team’s ranking was a dismal 49 percent.
Then a year later his team was scoring touchdowns on a 59 percent rate again when inside the red zone. In Haley’s final year with the Chiefs the team finished last in the league with a 33 percent ranking. However, that team saw Tyler Palko start four games and only had Jamaal Charles for two games all season long.
With the Steelers Haley has a young, but talented offense and the best quarterback he has had since Kurt Warner played for him in Arizona. That should mean a better performance from his offense and hopefully that will come in his second year with the team.
During Haley’s tenure in Arizona and Kansas City both teams saw a huge improvement on offense in his second year with the team. Just look at the numbers:
During Kurt Warner’s second season with Haley as offensive coordinator in Arizona he led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. During the season Warner threw for 4583 yards, 30 touchdowns and only 14 interceptions. Of course, Warner had Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin at wide receiver, but his second season under Haley was very successful.
Matt Cassel, in Kansas City, also excelled in his second year under Haley with the Chiefs and that team didn’t have the weapons that the Cardinals had. In Cassel’s second year with the Chiefs he threw for 3116 yards, 27 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. That was with an offense that had Dwayne Bowe and not much else in terms of receiving options.
Pittsburgh is hoping for the same thing in 2013 when Haley and Roethlisberger enter their second year together.