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Tag:Bruce Arians
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:34 am
 

Roethlisberger, Haley quickly becoming BFFs

Haley, left and Roethlisberger, center, had a good phone conversation, which must have pleased Tomlin. (US PRESSWIRE)
By Josh Katzowitz

Because the drama for when new Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley would call quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the first time was so heavy -- it took more than two weeks after Haley was hired! -- we felt compelled to follow up with the news of how well the phone meeting actually went.

You, of course, will be happy to know that it went really, really well*.

*Just pretend we’re having this conversation in a high school hallway, and we’re gossiping about the potential newest power couple in class. Then, the enthusiasm shown above makes a little more sense.

"It was a really good talk," Roethlisberger, who spoke with Haley for about 15 minutes, told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. "Unfortunately, we can't talk football right now and that's one of the big things I wanted to talk about.

Pittsburgh's offensive upheaval
"So it was just me talking to him, about golf, his family, my family, him having been a ballboy here, just things like that. It was a good start and I felt it was a good step in the right direction.”

Initially, Roethlisberger blew off the call because he didn’t recognize the phone number that popped up on his ID. But after listening to the voice message, he immediately called back Haley to have a chat.

According to NFL rules, the two can’t actually talk football until mid-April, so instead, they began to build a relationship -- personal or otherwise.

“I think it will be a good working relationship -- and good friendship, who knows," Roethlisberger said.

Look, CBSSports.com’s Ryan Wilson had it right when he wrote that this so-called controversy wasn’t a big deal. But at the same time, if Roethlisberger felt disrespected by Haley’s decision not to make contact for a few weeks, it becomes a bigger story. Especially when you remember this quote from Roethlisberger after Haley was hired to replace Bruce Arians, a Roethlisberger favorite: “I've gotten a lot of calls and texts and emails from people around the league, both good and bad about him. Everybody has an opinion, as we all know, and they're letting me know what their interaction with him was -- good, bad and indifferent. I've heard a lot of things and I'm looking forward to meeting him and forming my own opinion.”

Now that they’ve finally met and talked, it seems like, so far, the Roethlisberger’s opinion is a positive one. And maybe this story, at least until training camp begins, can be left alone for a while.

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 7:36 pm
 

Roethlisberger, Haley still haven't talked

Haley, left, still hasn't called Roethlisberger, center, despite being hired by Tomlin two weeks ago. (US PRESSWIRE)
By Josh Katzowitz

Todd Haley wasn’t exactly known as a player-friendly coach when he was at the helm of the Chiefs, and in his new job as the Steelers offensive coordinator, it appears he isn’t trying very hard to be Ben Roethlisberger’s best friend.

Or, you know, trying to talk to him at all.

That’s what Roethlisberger revealed to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, saying, “He still hasn’t called yet.”

The admission continues what has become a strange offseason for the Steelers, with team president Art Rooney II seemingly overruling coach Mike Tomlin and letting offensive coordinator Bruce Arians “retire.” Then, with the hiring of Haley, it’s been unclear who actually wanted him (there was speculation that Tomlin didn’t want Haley as much as Rooney did, though Rooney later came out and said Tomlin was the one who makes the assistant coaches decisions).

Pittsburgh's offensive upheaval
With the loss of Arians, Roethlisberger made it clear he wasn’t happy with that decision, and when Haley was announced as the new hire, he said, “I've gotten a lot of calls and texts and emails from people around the league, both good and bad about him. Everybody has an opinion, as we all know, and they're letting me know what their interaction with him was -- good, bad and indifferent. I've heard a lot of things and I'm looking forward to meeting him and forming my own opinion."

Roethlisberger probably wouldn’t have guessed that two weeks later, he still would be looking forward to meeting him (there’s a pretty good chance by this point, though, that Roethlisberger already has formed an opinion).

The Trib Review went on to write that Roethlisberger “definitely came across and had the tone that he has no intention of making the first move.” And really, why should he? Haley is the new guy, and Roethlisberger is the quarterback who’s won two Super Bowls. Roethlisberger is a top-10 quarterback, and Haley just got fired from Kansas City.

Seems like Haley would want to meet the guy who is responsible for leading the offense. Of course, we probably should have expected his from Haley.

"It doesn't matter where you stand on the totem pole," Kurt Warner, who played for Haley with the Cardinals, said earlier this month. "If he sees something you can do better, he lets you know about it. That was a reason for our success."

"He just wants you to do the right thing. Instead of getting offended, maybe you have to look at yourself and say, 'OK, that's a legitimate concern.' That's the way you get good. That's how you stay great. He will be good for Ben, not that Ben needs a lot of help.”

Of course, the only way for Haley to possibly help Roethlisberger would be to meet him. We’ll have to wait and see how long it takes for that to happen.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:15 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 9:16 am
 

Rooney makes clear Tomlin wanted Haley

Art Rooney II tried to make it clear that Mike Tomlin was the one who wanted to hire Todd Haley. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Since former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' contract wasn’t renewed (and basically, was fired) and Todd Haley was installed as the new coordinator, there’s been much speculation that some of coach Mike Tomlin’s power has been cut within the organization.

Apparently, Tomlin didn’t want to part ways with Arians, and apparently, he didn’t want to hire Haley. Supposedly, team president Art Rooney II was the man to make those deals over the protests of his successful head coach.

Now, though, Rooney is denying he had much of a role in the Pittsburgh offensive upheaval.

"I think the bottom line is, Mike was comfortable that's who he wanted to come in," Rooney said Thursday afternoon in an exclusive interview with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. "It may be fair to say that when he started the discussions and Todd's name was on his original list, I don't think he expected that Todd was the guy he was going to wind up hiring. But as he had more conversations with him, he became more comfortable that he was the right guy for the job."

The paper writes that the reason Rooney talked to reporter Ed Bouchette was because he wanted “to counter rampant speculation that he, not Tomlin, hired Haley to replace Bruce Arians ….”

So, yes, there is spin involved in this story, and Rooney apparently didn’t dispel the notion that he, not Tomlin, was the one who didn’t want Arians around.

Pittsburgh's offensive upheaval
Aside from Haley, Rooney said Jim Caldwell was the only other candidate that Tomlin brought to Pittsburgh to interview for the job. Rooney said he had conversations with Caldwell and Haley when they were in Pittsburgh, but he said it was more informal than a regular interview.

"I wouldn't want my role in it to be overestimated because Mike has to decide who he wants on the staff,” Rooney said. “Even though there's always a discussion between me and Mike about who he's hiring and how much we're paying him and those kinds of things, it's normally a discussion of the business side of the arrangement than, 'Are we going to hire a guy who's going to run the ball so many times a game.' It was a fairly normal process as far as I'm concerned in terms of how we've done those kinds of hirings in the past."

It’s good that Rooney recognizes the need to let the public believe that Tomlin is the one calling the shots on his coaching staff. Because, for the most part, Tomlin should be the one to make those decisions.

But if Rooney was the one who wanted to let Arians walk -- and that seems fairly clear at this point -- he needed to let Tomlin save face with the Haley hire. No matter who actually wanted Haley, Rooney has accomplished that now with this interview.

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Posted on: February 9, 2012 10:04 pm
 

Did PIT ownership take power away from Tomlin?

Who hired Todd Haley as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator? (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

How much power does Steelers coach Mike Tomlin really have within the organization? That’s the question the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Ron Cook asks in a column written after Pittsburgh hired Todd Haley as the new offensive coordinator.

It seems that Tomlin wanted to keep former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians but was told by owner Art Rooney II that Arians would not be brought back for 2012 (Arians subsequently retired and then took a job as the Indianapolis offensive coordinator).

As we wrote last month, “The organization was not going to renew Arians’ contract, and in essence, was going to fire him without officially having to fire him. ‘That decision,’ writes reporter Gerry Dulac, ‘appears to have come from team president Art Rooney II, even though coach Mike Tomlin told Arians several times since the playoff loss in Denver that he wanted him to return next season.’ Now, it appears Tomlin was overruled by his boss.”

Was Tomlin overruled again by having to hire the former Chiefs coach to replace Arians?

As Cook writes:
Hey, all speculation is fair until we hear from Tomlin or more from Rooney. I can't say for sure one way or the other who hired Haley. We might never know. But I do know this: If Rooney forced Haley on Tomlin after forcing out Arians after a 12-4 season, Tomlin can't possibly like it.

Nor should he.

It would be enough to make Tomlin at least consider his long-term future with the Steelers, especially now that Rooney II appears to have taken nearly complete control of the franchise from his father, Dan.

Tomlin has done a wonderful job here. He is as successful as just about any coach in the NFL. In five years, he has convinced me he's a better coach than Bill Cowher before him. And Cowher was terrific.
That said, the Steelers have done well by Tomlin as well, so in reality, he can’t complain that much. And besides, the Rooneys are some of the most respected owners in all of sports.

But they haven’t just risked alienating Tomlin. They’ve also risked upsetting their franchise quarterback.

Pittsburgh's offensive upheaval
"I've gotten a lot of calls and texts and emails from people around the league, both good and bad about (Haley),'' Roethlisberger told the Post Gazette. "Everybody has an opinion, as we all know, and they're letting me know what their interaction with him was -- good, bad and indifferent. I've heard a lot of things and I'm looking forward to meeting him and forming my own opinion."

But Roethlisberger also made sure the owners heard his voice after Arians’ contract wasn’t renewed. And he gave a hint of future frustrations.

"That was my biggest talking point to Mike and those guys -- I would hate to just throw everything out and start over because I feel it would set us back two or three years because these guys are just starting to get it,” Roethlisberger said.

"I hope we don't have to start over and if we do, you know what, here we go. Let's do it. We'll do it. We're not going to complain about it. But I would hate to have to set certain guys back who are doing so well right now."

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 7:21 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 2:26 pm
 

Steelers hire Todd Haley as OC

Haley's taking his old boss' old job in Pittsburgh. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Todd Haley's going to have a new gig in 2012 and it's a pretty good one: he's headed to Pittsburgh to take over as offensive coordinator after Bruce Arians recently "retired" to take the Colts job.

“I am excited about the opportunity to come back home and work for a tremendous organization,” Haley said in a statement. “It is an honor to work with the Rooney family and Coach Tomlin and continue the success that has become synonymous with the Steelers. My father has so many fond memories both from his playing days and his time in the personnel department with the team, and I look forward to helping bring more championships to Pittsburgh and to being a part of one of the storied franchises in the NFL.”

When Haley was head coach of the Chiefs, his team never finished with a passing offense ranked any higher than 25th. And Haley topped out at ranking 18th in passing attempts in his first year in KC.

But while he was with the Cardinals, under former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, Haley slung the ball around like crazy. Arizona, at the time with Kurt Warner, finished second in passing attempts both seasons and was top 10 in the league in points scored both seasons.

Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders provide a much closer approximation to those Warner teams than Matt Cassell and Dwayne Bowe do.

We'd heard word that Haley was interviewing with the Cards, but also that Haley didn't want to take anything less than a coordinator job. Pittsburgh gives him a fantastically soft landing spot after a rough tenure with KC.

It also means that both Roethlisberger (unhappy with Arians departure) and Art Rooney (wanting more points) should be happy. So it's a great fit, as long as there aren't any big ego clashes and the Steelers don't bug Haley's cell phone. Allegedly.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 5:12 pm
 

Colts' Pagano talks on new hires Manusky, Arians

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By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts hired Greg Manusky Thursday to be the new defensive coordinator. He was fired by the Chargers last month and will now join Chuck Pagano's staff a week after Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler backed out of the job.

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Pagano met with the media to talk about the latest additions to his staff.

"[Greg's] been a player and coach in this league for a long time … and he'll bring great leadership and passion and energy to our organization and to the defensive side of the ball." Pagano also said that Manusky will call plays.

The new head coach was also asked about offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who was Peyton Manning's first quarterbacks coach with the Colts back in 1998. And now, 14 years later, he's returning to Indianapolis, which means that there's a good chance Arians will soon get to work with another rookie franchise quarterback.

There's still much to sort out, from Manning's future, to who the Colts will target with the first-overall pick in April's draft. (Andrew Luck is the early runaway favorite but Robert Griffin III will likely get consideration as well.)

"Bruce's resume speaks for itself," Pagano said. "He called plays at the highest level and he's won a Super Bowl."

Arians comes to the Colts after the Steelers chose not to renew his deal. Two weeks ago, he told the York Daily Record (Pa.) that he retired when he "wasn't offered a contract." After that, "it was an easy decision for me."

Arians added that team president Art Rooney II didn't give him a reason. "I can't answer that question," he said. "Only the people there can. That's the business. I know the job we did as a staff. I don't have any regrets."

He had been in Pittsburgh since 2004, after working with Pagano on Butch Davis' staff in Cleveland the previous three seasons. Arians was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2007, head coach Mike Tomlin's first year with the Steelers. In four of five seasons, Pittsburgh was a top-10 offense, according to Football Outsiders (and the only year they weren't, 2008, they won the Super Bowl). Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger flourished under Arians, but the Steelers got away from what they had previously been known for: running the ball.

There will be no run-first subtexts in Indianapolis. The Colts need someone to nurture a young passer and you'd be hard-pressed to find a candidate more qualified than Arians.

"He understands how to develop quarterbacks, especially young quarterbacks," Pagano said. "Bruce and I go back a long time. His philosophy matches our philosophy, and the pieces we're going to put around him [match] his passion and energy. He's a brilliant guy, he thinks outside the box so I feel really fortunate that Bruce is with us."

It was a peculiar split for Arians and the Steelers. Not because it came out of nowhere -- Rooney reportedly wanted Arians out several years ago and Roethlisberger and Tomlin fought to keep him -- but because the Steelers' offense had regularly been a top-10 unit going back to 2007.

Part of that is due to Roethlisberger, but that claim can be made about most winning teams: sustained success starts with the quarterback. And that's exactly what Pagano seems ready to do: rebuild this team around a franchise player. The only question, at least initially, is if that player will be Manning, Luck or someone else.

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Posted on: January 28, 2012 2:17 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2012 2:55 pm
 

Report: Bruce Arians hired as Colts OC

AriansBy Josh Katzowitz

Only a scant few days after former Steelers assistant Bruce Arians supposedly retired from coaching,it sounds like he has a new job.

According to a tweet from XTRA 910’s Mike Jurecki, Arians “is likely to become the next coordinator of the Colts.” Later, ESPN's Adam Schefter wrote that Arians has agreed to the job and will fly to Indianapolis on Monday to "to review and sign [the] contract."

So much for retirement, eh?

Well, it sounds like that’s not exactly what happened at the end of Arians’ tenure in Pittsburgh, especially since reports have emerged that Arians’ expiring contract would not have been renewed and that team president Art Rooney II didn’t give Arians a reason why the team was letting him go.

But the release of Arians might cause Pittsburgh more problems, because an obviously-displeased quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he will march up to Rooney’s office and figure out why Arians wasn’t retained.

Pagano, the Ravens defensive coordinator, matched wits with Arians twice last season, and Baltimore held Pittsburgh to a combined 27 points in dealing the Steelers two losses.

The two also coached together with the Browns from 2001-03, so there should be plenty of familiarity between the two.

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Posted on: January 27, 2012 11:05 am
Edited on: January 27, 2012 2:44 pm
 

Ben wants meeting with Rooney over Arians release

Roethlisberger and Rooney are going to have a meeting, apparently. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians left the team under suspicious circumstances: first he was retiring, then he was fired, then he said he "wasn't offered a contract" ... it was all really weird and awkward. And it's not making Ben Roethlisberger happy.

And Roethlisberger, apparently, is going to march right up to Art Rooney II's office and ask him what's going on.

"When I get back, I'm going to go up to Mr. Rooney's office and ask him what he wants from me, what he wants from this offense, because I think that's a viable question for him," Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Thursday in Honolulu. "He's our owner and our boss, so I really would like to know kind of what he wants and where he sees our offense going because I'd like to tell him where I see us going."

Rooney previously cited the points scored by the Steelers in 2011 as an issue with Arians. And the owner has a fair point, as the Steelers only ranked as a top-10 unit once under Arians, which was during his first year in 2007 when they were ninth in the NFL in scoring.

However, Football Outsiders ranks the Steelers as a top-10 unit in DVOA every year of Arians tenure but one. And there's little question that under Arians, the Steelers moved from a traditional ground-and-pound stereotype that people attach to Pittsburgh to a full-on aerial assault.

"We feel like we are really close to being an elite offense," Roethlisberger told the Tribune-Review. "For your leader to be gone is kind of a shocker, but you've got to be ready for whatever the Rooneys and coach [Mike] Tomlin decide it our next step."

Roethlisberger has consistently defended Arians over the past, and the T-R notes that he was taking him to Hawaii as one of his guests for the Pro Bowl until things got murky with his contract situation.

Ben's job is certainly safer. But he's not exactly doing himself any favors with the way he's phrasing his "request" for a meeting with Rooney.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com