Roethlisberger hopes for more no-huddle
The Steelers were most successful as an offense against the Indianapolis Colts when they ran the nohuddle. They ran eight plays from the no-huddle and gained 65 yards, including 51 yards on consecutive passing plays to Martavis Bryant and Antonio Brown with less than a minute to play that set up the winning field goal.
Overall, they averaged 8.1 yards per play from the nohuddle while the 54 plays whenthey huddled averaged 4.6 yards per play.
It’s not a well-kept secret quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would like to run more no-huddle, and if his words Tuesday morning are any indication, it might be a big part of the game plan Thursday night at Heinz Field against the Tennessee Titans.
Because of the short work week, game-planning is condensed, and Roethlisberger said operating from the nohuddle simplifies things for the offense.
“It’s actually easier because that’s something that’s been in since day one,” Roethlisberger said. “So rather than install a bunch of new plays you go with what you know and have been doing for a long time.”
With the offense plodding along with uninspiring results for the first nine game, one of the most popular topics for armchair offensive coordinators is the no-huddle. The Steelers enter the game against the Titans 19th in the NFL in scoring (20.8 points per game) and 18th in rushing (106.6 yards per game).
The offense overall (358.4 yards per game) and the passing offense (251.9 yards per game) are 10th overall. But with scoring the biggest issue, especially in the red zone, why not try to jumpstart the offense with something that has proven successful in the past?
The Steelers have operated well out of the no-huddle in previous seasons, but they haven’t gone to it very much this season. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley said last week that the Steelers were a “game plan” team and also mentioned the first eight opponents weren’t necessarily ideal teams to use the no-huddle against.
But in the limited snaps the Steelers have run in the no-huddle this season his players say they have noticed a difference.
“Once we get on a roll downfield, I think when Ben calls his plays, he knows the defense and knows what to expect,” rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said. “I don’t mind when he has the ball in his hands.”
One of the issues early in the season was Smith-Schuster’s and new tight end Vance McDonald’s inexperience with the no-huddle. Smith-Schuster learned in the spring and training camp, but McDonald arrived just before the start of the regular season.
Roethlisberger said any worries about their readiness to operate out of the nohuddle are gone now.
“Those are the guys you have the biggest questions about, but I haven’t seen one iota of doubt or question from them,” Roethlisberger said.
The biggest difference for the players when the Steelers do operate the no-huddle is the way the play call is disseminated. Instead of getting the play by mouth in the huddle they rely on hand signals from Roethlisberger.
“For me, yeah it’s a lot different,” Smith-Schuster said. “In college, all I had was [hand] signals. I’ve really focused on learning the plays from Big Ben and hearing the play calls. It’s a lot different for me because I’m playing all types of positions. But it makes the game more fun.”