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Deion Sanders takes shot at Todd Haley


Mark Kaboly  | Tribune-Review


If it wasn’t bad enough that the Steelers offense was non-existent in a 16-9 loss to Tennessee Sunday afternoon, now a Hall-of-Famer is calling out offensive coordinator Todd Haley.


NFL Network analyst and co-host of NFL Gameday highlight show Deion Sanders put the majority of Sunday’s lackluster offensive performance by the Steelers on Haley.


“I am not concerned about the Steelers because of Mike Tomlin,” Sanders said. “(However,) I am concerned about their rushing attack (and) offensive coordinator Todd Haley. It seems as if every place he goes, this happens.”


There’s no denying that the Steelers offense looked out of sync and out of ideas by the second half, but putting the blame on Haley alone isn’t fair, and isn’t necessarily a correct place to put it.


Was it Haley’s fault that Isaac Redman fumbled what could’ve been a game-changing play into the end zone in the first quarter?


Was it Haley’s fault that Emmanuel Sanders dropped a pair of key passes?


And most of all, was it Haley’s fault that the offensive line that was provided to him by Tomlin and the front office couldn’t block anybody?


Let’s face it, Haley was very limited in what he could call because of the offensive line. Break down what you want, but it is truly that simple.


You can’t call a run play if there are no holes.


You can’t call a pass play if your quarterback keeps getting hammered.


I am sure there is enough blame to go around for this loss to the Titans, but Haley is way down on that list in my eyes.



Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly is the Pittburgh Steelers beat writer for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 300 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as three Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa and XLV in Dallas. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer; daughter Briella; and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug


  1. Noah says:

    Sorry but with a new center in the game it IS Haley’s fault on the fumble. He decided to call a bang bang quick handoff to the fullback. There was supposed to be 2 tailbacks in the game according to Redman. They don’t even have 2 decent tailbacks at the moment. So he had the wrong personnel in and a bad play called to boot. That one is on Haley.

  2. Scott says:

    Haley is a wack coach… What’s the last level he’s had success at??? He took Bens freedom away and it’s a complete bust last year and it looks like its gonna be the same song … If I was tomlin I would do all I could to get rid of Haley and just promote somebody that’s already there and run with it

  3. bucfan59 says:

    Deion Sanders, the only HoF db who never made a tackle if he could possibly avoid it.

  4. Steelag70 says:

    Sorry Mark…disagree with you. I hold Tomlin and Haley mostly responsible for this debacle. Haley had no game plan and Tomlin did not have his team prepared for this game. The offense started moving when they went no-huddle…let Ben call his own plays…

  5. crash says:

    “Was it Haley’s fault that Isaac Redman fumbled what could’ve been a game-changing play into the end zone in the first quarter?”

    Yes. Haley had the wrong people on the field for the play he called. Ben and Redman tried to cover for the golf coach and they couldn’t.

    Quit protecting him because of who his Daddy is.

  6. K Clark says:

    Either you don’t know anything about football or Todd Haley is a distant relative. The whole game plan was horrible from the get-go, you only take one shot down field the first play of the game. 3rd and long you choose to call wide receiver screen and gets nowhere, Felix Jones never got a carry and you couldn’t adjust since Beachum didn’t play tight end. He deserves all the blame. You forgot Todd Haley went to school to play golf, he doesn’t have a clue how to manage a football game. It’s almost like Stevie Wonder giving driving lessons, the only reason he has this job is because his daddy was affiliated with the Steelers years back. If Tomlin wants to stick around a little longer he had better part ways with the golfer or he’ll be looking for a job!

  7. Thomas says:

    No Haley is way way up the list….tired of miscommunication problems on the field ..this time on the goal line just before the fumble ..tired of Bubble screens on third and 11…tired of 3rd and longs every series…tired of watching other teams on tv run efficient plays…sick and tired

  8. Eric says:

    actually yes it was in part his fault that the o-line was that bad because of the poor playcalling.The running plays were not creative he didnt switch to felix jones when redman was not going anywhere(before the fumble) and he called playaction passes when we all knew he was not going to run so yeah the titans were all over roethlisberger.You want to run the football? Why dont you start with your personnel, we kept 2 H-BACK with David and Will Johnson,why dont you use David as a blocking TE,Will at FB and try to run the ball with Felix.Heck you can even put Whimper as a TE so it gives you a 6th linemen.Funny that I didnt see that today.Yeah he said he wants to run the ball more but Tomlin also said he believed in blue collar when he was hired in 06-07 and we all know that this team hasnt really been a blue collar team under Tomlin

  9. Robert says:

    If Tomlin and the front office are responsible for anything, it is that they used terrible judgment in hiring Todd Haley.

    If you knew anything about play calling, the NFL, or had actually followed Todd Haley, along with his player disputes/various misgivings, over the years then you might actually have the perspective necessary to write an objective piece on this subject.

    This is nothing but a presumptuous and uninspired dismissal of the facts. I revel in the fact that anyone can share their opinions on the internet, but I also find it sad that such unqualified, uninitiated, and completely oblivious individuals as yourself so frequently pollute the airwaves.

  10. Robert says:

    Exactly. Neon Deon knows exactly what he’s talking about. He speaks his mind and its not often that I hear him call out a coordinator the way he called out Haley.

  11. Rex says:

    Steelers haven’t taken care of their asset and that’s Big Ben, too long they ignored their offensive line. Then they pick the wrong players in the draft. Something is terribly wrong with their talent evaluations when it come to linemen on both sides of the ball. They haven’t been able to replace Hampton and Smith on the D – line.

    Blaming Haley is convenient but after Ben he doesn’t have much to work with. Maybe when Heath Miller and Bell come back they will be better, but that’s a big if.

  12. John says:

    Always happens in sports when people don’t like a coach (remember Bruce Arians?)and want him released, the next question is who are you going to replace him with? In this case at least so far Haley does not look good.
    Very disappointed in the offensive line play. The two second round pick offensive tackles Adams and Gilbert are not as good as advertised. Gilbert I think in his third year, Adams in his second. Even DeCastro a first round pick has not played well.
    Hope he is not another John Rienstra. No reason yesterday to even attempt to help Pouncey block the defender on the play he was injured. Like the announcer said he didn’t need help. He was driving the defender backwards on his own very effectively to say the least.

  13. bucfan59 says:

    There are lots of ways to make up for a young, inexperienced offensive line. I’m not a fan of the cut blocking schemes because of what could and did happen to Pouncey, but it can be effective in producing a running game. The fact is, if you want to pass the ball, you have to make defenders respect that you can run the ball. There are other things that can be down as well like draws, screens, throwbacks against the grain, quick passes but our qb has never shown he’s capable or interested in executing those kind of plays as a long term strategy. Last year, BR was effective using just those techniques (as was Batch) until he got hurt. But he fought running that scheme all season and finally succeeded in making Haley “get input” from him and others on what the offense should be in the offseason. We all saw the result, “Ben being Ben”, throwing deep sideline passes, holding the ball too long and getting sacked. Same old, same old. The Redman fumble at inside the 5 is a perfect example. The personnel grouping is wrong, the qb realizes it but thinks “the guy who’s supposed to get the ball is in, so I’ll just go ahead, run the play and not use a time out”. This is the thinking of a 10 yr vet qb, not to use a 1st half time out on a 3rd down play just outside the 5 yd line, to get everyone on the same page. If there is ever a time to “waste” a time out, that’s probably it. How do you blame Todd Haley for that? The problem is the Steelers have a head strong qb who wants to play his way no matter what, regardless, and got away with that so long, it’s likely mission impossible to make him adapt to something different.

  14. leefoo says:

    Lots of blame to go around. O-line, D-line, WRs, etc, etc, etc.
    Just an ‘ugh’ kind of game.


  15. Steve says:

    Then put the blame on Kevin Colbert. He drafted them.

  16. Mark says:

    I will spend my Sunday afternoon reading a good book instead of sitting through that pathetic display of football. The blame start at top from front office, coaches, lack of talent all bad. Looks like a 4 win team.

  17. Johnny Bravo says:

    How does Roethlisberger avoid blame here? Haley is not on the field running the offense. Ben takes WAY too many sacks on plays that he needs to get rid of the ball. I know, I know, Ben’s game is keeping plays alive. Been hearin’ that for years and seeing the losses pile up. Sure seems like maybe Ben is protecting his stats rather than throwing the ball away. Peyton threw 7 TD’s. Brady had nearly 300 yads and 2 TDs with a depleted receiving corps. My goodness Geno Smith and the Jets put up better numbers. It’s time to face the fact that Ben isn’t as elite as he and most of Pgh thinks he is!

  18. nellieh says:

    The line was exposed as woeful in the exhibition games. Tomlin said the problem would be addressed. It hasn’t. Tomlin is whistling past the grave yard. His QB was not extending plays but running for his football life! the running backs had no holes to run through. The O-line was pitiful. Next man up is just smoke So is the “standard is the standard”. They are just for the press at conferences. Mean absolutely nothing.. It isn’t the end of the world or season but they definitely need to do something about the O-line. Paging Max Starks!

  19. Rich says:

    Here’s a thought. Stop winning Super Bowls so you can draft higher picks! People don’t realize that when the Steelers were going to the Super Bowls they were drafting 31 or 32. The quality isn’t there at that point. Don’t blame Colbert for that and as far as Haley goes, he really doesn’t have a lot to work with at this point. Where was Marcus Wheaton yesterday. Wasn’t he the guy who was supposed to replace the speed of Mike Wallace. This isn’t necessarily a front office mess. It is certainly a head coaching mess. Remember the old adage… you’re never as good as you think you are and you are never as bad as you think you are. Second thought…..We are still tied for first place in the division!!

  20. Keeper of the Curtain says:

    Haley may have offensive line talent issues, but that is no excuse for bad schemes and lack of a Plan B or C when $^%@ happens like they always do for the Steelers. How about taking advantage of Big Ben’s mobility with some planned rollouts or making a five-step dropback instead of a three step dropback into a crumbling pocket. Figure out easy ways to make screens happen instead of using the same wide receiver screens we have been using since Hines Ward came out of college. Haley is being paid to see the big picture and know how to respond with the talent he has. It is unlikely we get five new quality linemen, but if we keep doing the same plays we had last year, the results will be worst than last year (I fear Ben will not make it). Finally, will someone get DeCastro some glasses because if he was trying to “cut-block the nose tackle” this boy is seriously near-sighted blind. He was 20-24 inches from hitting the nose tackle in blowing up Pouncey’s knee. God bless the Steelers because we gonna need all the help we can.

  21. Yatch says:

    Seriously when will he be held accountable?

  22. TJ says:

    how ’bout paging Doug Legursky…huh?

  23. Ron says:

    For all you guys that wanted Arians run out of town, hope you’re happy now.

  24. Steeler Nation says:

    I wish these folk who want to cover for Haley or shift blame to players or the “great” defense from Tennessee would get back to reality! The O-Line and the players are only executing what boneheaded plays Todd Haley came up with for them! Todd Haley IS the problem!!! The Steelers went 12 and 4 in 2011 down to 8/8 the following year under Haley!!! This is ALL on Haley and His dink and dunk pathetic excuse for an offensive plan! Why are some so scared to call a punk a punk?!!! Fire Todd now or go to 1-15

  25. Mario L says:

    Colbert needs to GO he’s been GM way to long & has become STALE. His drafts have been almost as bad as Pirates (up until recently) Steelers Front Office stuck in the 70’s & 80’s while rest of NFL in 21st century. The entire O-line is 1st rd picks & Mr. Adams 2nd rd. Pouncey is Good but he’s always hurt & now with blown-out ACL/MCL thanks to your blind 1st rd pick OG DeCastro. Never seen such an idiotic play in my life. 2014 draft/offseason will prob be the most important EVER sense drafting Ben #11 in 2004

  26. Carl says:

    I’m a college coach (D3) and from my experience that play calling was horrible. Selling the run and, like the guy said above, a bubble screen for a wideout on 3rd and 11.. at least try to hit somebody on a slant pattern.

    I think the receiver corps that they have, in Sanders and Brown, is actually pretty damn good, Brown went over 1000 last season and Sanders definitely has that potential as well. They need to spread this offense and use them, use TE help on the weak side, and set plays up for Roethlisberger rolling to his right…. that is how Ben beat teams throughout his career and how they won superbowls, why abandon that???? I have no idea….

  27. David says:

    I semi agree but I think Haley is at or near the top of my list because he refuses to bend or change his strategies what-so-ever. Ben has 2 rings doing the exact opposite of Haley’s strategy and Haley has 0 rings and a horrible track record. I think he needs to sit down, shut up, and watch some tapes from the Superbowl winning seasons and hell, even the one we lost to a respectable Green Bay.

    Haley’s theory SEEMS okay on paper, but it’s simply proving to not be. I do somewhat blame him for the Redman fumble because that isn’t a play you call in that position. That smash-mouth running only works with a smash-mouth back and Redman is simply not that kind of back. He is a balanced back and doesn’t have the size to punch through the gut like that.

    Haley is not playing to their players strength and Ben is getting sacked more now then he ever has. Sure, the line is terrible but no matter how you want to shape that one up there is one constant that has always held true until now and that is that Steelers have always found ways to win in the face of adversity, most notably from Ben’s gunslinger cowboy ways and that no huddle offense that we used to burn teams apart with. In the words of Mark Madden who is an ass but is usually right in this situation, we only have about 5 good years left in Ben, and they shouldn’t be spent throwing screens and bubbles because guess what?? That’s not what won him his rings before, and they aren’t going to be what wins his rings now.

  28. AJ Madia says:

    As others have said, is pitiful watching this O-Line struggle for yet another year….Have $100 million tied up in Ben and this poor line will get this guy killed. For all the guys that wanted Cowher run out of town, sure you would love to see Bettis off right tacke for 4 yards on 1st down rather than one of our current stable of RB’s stuffed on 1st and 2nd down and then Ben running for his life on 3rd down. Ben made this shabby O-Line look reasonably good two years ago but last years 8-8 with that easy schedule should have been a wake up call to Tomlin so what does he do??? Can Max Starx…REALLY? Tough talk is great for press conferences but no results gets coaches fired!

  29. Mike says:

    It starts at the top. Never was a Tomlin fan and never will be. Any coach in the league could have won the Super Bowl his first year. All he had to do was stay out of the way. That was Cower’s team and they were clearly the best that year. From there, the Steelers have been in a steady decline. Haley is a loser. Period. He has been a loser everywhere he’s been. I almost died the day I heard he was hired. That alone told me all I needed to hear about Tomlin. Birds of a feather…. I honestly can’t say I was in love with Arians. BUT! One thing I could say for him was that he was a winner. I was never in favor of seeing him replaced. And as the old saying goes…. if it aint broke, don’t fix it. So we fire a winner and replace him with a loser. Great move. It only took him one year to destroy the offense. Maybe if we keep him around, we’ll look like the Chiefs did during and many years after his tenure there.

  30. Richie says:

    I’m tired of seeing everyone blame Haley. Steelers have no offensive line & no running game, the Titans had them exactly where they wanted. Without being able to run the ball, the Titans were able to load 8 men in the box & pressure Ben with no problem. Haley was extremely limited in what he was able to call. You can’t launch the ball downfield if you have no time in the pocket. Get Le’Veon Bell back ASAP to hopefully establish some sort of rushing attack. Give Max Starks or Winston Justice a call, see if either of them have anything left. Figure out the running game and offensive line before you blame Haley.

  31. Patchy says:

    Fans who fancy themselves experts while sitting in the stadium or at home are easy targets of scorn but when those same not-really-expert fans can predict with stunning accuracy the plays called by Mr Haley where does the fault lie?

    Run-run-pass. Run-run-pass. It sounds like a Phil Spector hit from 1965.

    Ben Roethlisberger’s expressions and body language speak volumes. He knows more than anyone that predictable 3rd-and-8 screen pass has, at best, a 40% chance of success. When subpar players give subpar effort those chances nosedive to 10-20% at best. And when the play inevitably fails it’s easy to blame ‘execution’ but it’s all a product of being dealt three cards and attempting to win a hand of five-card poker.

  32. Mad Dog Mike says:

    The whole org sucks…what has happened to our vaulted Stillers??? Tomlin is what I say..he needs to go…and we need Mean Joe back as scouting head..the talent sucks

  33. Cameron McGuire says:

    No doubt the Steelers list of problems is long, but getting our team back on the right path requires great leadership. Tomlin has proved to be a resilient head coach, Dick LeBeau is a football legend, but Todd Haley just does not fit in with the Steelers’ leaders. The Steelers are the greatest franchise in the history of the NFL, and unless Haley drastically changes his attitude he will be replaced.

  34. Jason says:

    Just finished watching the Steelers lose to the Bungles. It’s going to be a very long ugly season. No rushing ability, very little passing game and an over all offense that looks just a mess. One first down conversion in the second half before the no huddle offense came out. Looks like our Super Bowl runs are over for a while. Guess we will take a back seat in the AFC North.

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