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Robinson: Roethlisberger defends Haley — again

By Alan Robinson

Ben Roethlisberger is going from offense to defense – yet again, he is defending Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Following the 34-28 loss Sunday to the Dolphins, Roethlisberger was asked why Le’Veon Bell was used sparingly as a running back in the second half. Bell touched the ball an equal amount of times in each half, but his primary role past halftime was as a receiver.

Roethlisberger responded by saying, “No idea. Coach Haley’s over there. You can ask him.”

The comments were like several made previously by the quarterback following games this season, and were interpreted by some as him being critical of the play-calling.

But Roethlisberger strongly denied that during his weekly 93.7 FM radio show Tuesday, saying he and the coordinator have an excellent relationship in an offense that he said is working. The Steelers are No. 16 in the league offensively.

“It was taken way out of context. There is absolutely no issue between coach
Haley and I,” Roethlisberger said on the radio show. “I love where this offense is right now.”

He added, “No way, shape or form was it directed negatively at him. I think the offense is as good as it’s been in a long time. We’ve got guys doing some great things. I genuinely am enjoying this offense and what coach Haley is doing with it and where we’re going. We’re getting better every week, and I think we can keep getting better.”

Roethlisberger said he made the remarks because Haley was calling the plays, except when he was doing so in the no-huddle formation.

“He’s our coordinator, if you want to ask questions about play calling, go ask him about it,” Roethlisberger said, explaining his post-game remarks. “He’s the guy that calls the plays. If you want to ask me about the no-huddle and I’m calling them, then you can ask me.’”

Despite the Steelers’ 5-8 record, Roethlisberger is on pace for one of the best seasons of his career statistically. He is 320 of 500 for 3,724 yards, 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and he has a 94.1 passer rating.

He is on pace to easily surpass his previous career high of 513 passes in 2011.

Roethlisberger’s 320 completions through 13 games are 44 more than he has had in any previous season. And his 3,724 yards are nearly 200 more than he has had in a season to date; his owns the team record of 4,328 yards in 2009.

Antonio Brown also could set some team single-season receiving records. He already has 90 catches; Hines Ward and Brown are the only receivers in team history to make that many catches.

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