Posted September 18, 2013

Antonio Brown, Todd Haley reportedly clashed on Steelers’ sideline Monday night

AFC North, Pittsburgh Steelers
Antonio Brown reportedly wants to be more involved going forward.

Antonio Brown reportedly wants to be more involved going forward. (Cal Sport Media)

“We are a frustrated group right now,” Mike Tomlin said to open his postgame comments after a 20-10 loss in Cincinnati Monday night dropped the Steelers to 0-2. “I just told the group that is a natural response.”

Could that frustration be bubbling over already? It sure sounds like it, in light of a report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette that receiver Antonio Brown and offensive coordinator Todd Haley had at it on the sideline during that defeat.

Brown “angrily complained to the coach that not enough pass plays were called for him,” per the report, and the two were “still seething about it Tuesday.”

Brown, the Steelers’ No. 1 receiver after Mike Wallace left in the offseason, caught six passes against the Bengals and was targeted nine times. Both of those numbers were team-highs for the game (Jerricho Cotchery also had nine targets). It was Emmanuel Sanders who received the bulk of Ben Roethlisberger’s attention in Week 1, with 12 targets to six for Brown.

Roethlisberger threw for 251 yards Monday, though he was just 20-of-37. The Bengals generated rather consistent pressure on the Steelers’ QB, too, coming up with a pair of sacks in the game. Only one of those Roethlisberger completions came on a ball thrown 20 yards or farther downfield — a 31-yarder to Cotchery. Roethlisberger twice looked for Brown downfield, with both attempts resulting in incompletions.

Through their disappointing 0-2 start, the Steelers have mustered only 19 points (the third-lowest total in the league). Neither the run game nor the passing attack have been very effective, with the offense generating a mere 194 yards in a Week 1 loss to Tennessee.

COVER-TWO: What to make of 0-2 teams

This is Haley’s second season calling plays for the Steelers. Year 1 produced mixed results, at best, as Pittsburgh finished 8-8 and muddled to a No. 22 ranking in points scored. Brown did lead the Steelers’ receivers in catches during 2012, with his 66 falling five shy of TE Heath Miller for most on the roster.

Pittsburgh hosts Chicago on Sunday night, in what could be a must-win game early in the season. Getting Brown a few extra touches might not be the worst idea, either. As Tomlin pointed out, this is a frustrated team — one that hardly needs added tension brewing between the coaching staff and players.

35 comments
evansdad1221
evansdad1221

Where's ol' Brucie Bruce these days?...Oh yeah, he is making a winner out of his second team in two years.  Good call there management.  Nice job drafting, too.   Glad I'm not a Steelers fan...

ShellieThunder
ShellieThunder

Todd Haley is an idiot! We are not the KC Chiefs. I am tired of only seeing our offense perform when the game is dwindling down and Ben calls plays from the line. We'd be better off without an OC!

BigHurt101
BigHurt101

Start Jonathan Dyer #27 (Little Bus)  Keep a even balance between passes and runs. Never mind the line. We went to our last two Super Bowls with a bad line. Play good defense!  Ben will do the rest. That's the formula. Oh yea, fire Haley!

LarrySnyder
LarrySnyder

I said last year when the hired Haley..FIRE HIM!!!! He was a loser coach in KC and he brought his losing ways to our offfense!!!! We have good players....Pitt needs to fire Haley... No team went to the post season that started 0-2 in thirty years... we need to be the first but its not going to happen with Haley.... FIRE HALEY!!!!

stabmasterarson21
stabmasterarson21

Too many screens were called IMO.  You can go vertical all the time but hardly any 10~15 yarders were called, that's pathetic.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

Well Haley IS pretty suspect at this point.  Neither the Chiefs nor the Steelers offenses have benefited from his direction.

Last season there were also rumors of players being disgruntled with Haley's offense.  This probably isn't just Antonio Brown angst alone, but rather an indication of broader sentiment in the Steelers locker room.

thebigdawg3
thebigdawg3

Brown … if he wasn't playing football looks like he'd make an excellent crack dealer in the hood ...

x72
x72

Haley should have backhanded him

BLaCkBruceWaYnE
BLaCkBruceWaYnE

Same old Todd Haley story. We saw the same thing with him and Anquan in Arizona. In Pittsburgh with Big Ben and now with his WR Antonio Brown. I think the Steelers need to find a new off coordinator...

KrystalGoreStevenson
KrystalGoreStevenson

Haley IS the problem!!!!!!! Kansas City got rid of him for a reason!! Come on Rooney....can him!


ironcity76
ironcity76

Remember the early fumble...  Game could have started off 10-0 Steelers with a little momentum, they get the win and this story goes away.  Bottom line, the offense is struggling, but if the offensive line can't block, then you are stuck to sending out only 2 and 3 receivers to protect your QB.  That then causes many more issues, like not being able to pass to then run the football.  It keeps 8 men in the box against them as well.  The issue is the offensive line, which they need to sink some money into....

geewhiz
geewhiz

As a Steeler hater this pleases me.

emassop
emassop

I am tired of saying this!! But the problem is Todd Haley!!! It's a reason why he got fired as head Coach in KC.... His offense doesn't fit Big Ben nor the Steelers. He is going to cost Mike Tomlin his job. I heard reports that Mike didn't even want Haley as OC. But of course management has ties with him and his family so here we are. Haven't won a game in while. The offense has gone down hill every since he arrived and it will continue to flutter while he is still in charge of the play calling. Come on Steelers! Let Todd Haley GOOOO!!!! Your star QB doesn't even like his play calling from day 1. Sorry for the rant. Just a die hard fan getting ticked off seeing us struggle so bad.

Mr. Plow
Mr. Plow

Can't blame him. When the Steelers came out on their 1st possession and ran 3 straight times for 5 total yards, I knew it was gonna be a long game.

6marK6
6marK6

I think Haley is on borrowed time

NMSteelerFan
NMSteelerFan

@LarrySnyder My sentiments EXACTLY! What will it take for them to see it's not working?  A 0-16 season?  He's just not working out. You can't fit a square peg into a round hole.. You need to find the round peg... GO find it !! Now!

Markus
Markus

@x72 Then Tomlin should have followed up with a sucker punch to the stomach.  There is no room for insubordination on the sidelines.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@BLaCkBruceWaYnE The difference in Arizona was that Haley's coordination was actually productive back then.

x72
x72

@BLaCkBruceWaYnE The Haley Boldin combo worked out pretty good. Should have won that Superbowl if it wasn't for Harrison's crazy INT return.

PWINGS
PWINGS

@ironcity76   "....Bottom line, the offense is struggling, but if the offensive line can't block, then you are stuck to sending out only 2 and 3 receivers to protect your QB.  That then causes many more issues, like not being able to pass to then run the football.  It keeps 8 men in the box against them as well."

The offensive line is a key element in this problem but the lack of any durable, dependable running backs and exceptional receivers are also big factors. In the Steelers' strategy, they have always run to set up the pass, not vice versa. The problems they're facing aren't problems with Todd Haley's scheme so much as a basic lack of healthy, skilled personnel to execute it. Aging critical players on defense (Clark & Polamalu et al) hurts them as well.

To exasperate matters, Haley is an abrasive, confrontational presence with his players and that just throws gasoline on the fire. Firing Haley may help ease the tension temporarily but it doesn't solve the personnel problems which will take a year or two to fix since the Steelers don't sign many free agents.

NMSteelerFan
NMSteelerFan

@geewhiz Tis ok... We got 6 of them fingers covered... so ... Steeler fans don't care about your comments. Ha!

larrybradford
larrybradford

@emassop You heard wrong.....Tomlin let Ariens go, and Tomlin wanted Haley. End of story. Tomlin should be fired. His SB sucess was all with Cowher's team, since then it is all down hill. I agree Haley sux, and he should be fired right after Tomlin is....

BrunoRemulus
BrunoRemulus

@6marK6  

I'm not too sure.  Remember the Steeler's front office responds to coaching issues with glacial speed.  I think we're in for a long year.  The hatred between BR and TH is palpable.  That will need to be addressed, honestly they need to stop acting like spoiled brats and put the interests of the organization first.

CMGonzalez
CMGonzalez

@x72 @BLaCkBruceWaYnE  don't forget Big Ben starting from the 20 and completing 5 passes on your defense and capping it off with a perfect pass over 3 defenders in the corner to santonio holmes at the end of the game. oops!

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

@ITATTRACTS Gee, what an original comment. I've never ever seen that one before. You must be a genius. I'm really really impressed.