Ha­ley ea­ger to re­vive team’s of­fense

Of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor sees es­tab­lish­ing run­ning game as vi­tal

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff Schudel jschudel@news-her­ald.com @jsproin­sider on Twit­ter

The new of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor is tak­ing over the of­fense that fin­ished last in the NFL in scor­ing in 2017.

“You have to run the ball, and the key is, you have to run the ball when the other team knows you’re go­ing to run it.” — Todd Ha­ley

Todd Ha­ley says he likes chal­lenges, and it’s good that he does be­cause the Browns’ new of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor is tak­ing over the of­fense that fin­ished last in the NFL in scor­ing in 2017.

Ha­ley spent the past six sea­sons as of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor of the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers, who fin­ished in the top 10 in of­fense each of the past four years. Af­ter be­ing elim­i­nated by the Jaguars in a wild-card play­off game, how­ever, the Steel­ers chose not to re­new his con­tract.

“I’m look­ing for­ward, not back­ward,” Ha­ley said Feb. 14 dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Berea. “This is a re­ally ex­cit­ing chal­lenge and I think it would be re­ally great to be part of help­ing turn this great or­ga­ni­za­tion around with a rich, rich his­tory.”

Ha­ley’s fa­ther, Dick, was a for­mer Steel­ers cor­ner­back and their di­rec­tor of player per­son­nel from 1971 to 1990. But if you’re won­der­ing whether Todd Ha­ley, 50, has any lin­ger­ing loy­alty to the Steel­ers — for­get about it.

“I al­ways want to beat who­ever we’re play­ing,” said Ha­ley, who has also coached with the Jets, Bears, Cow­boys, Cardinals and Chiefs. “We had Steel­ers stuff stocked up for six years and peo­ple are amazed that when you go some­where else, you put it in a

box and see who wants it.

“Hav­ing grown up in Pitts­burgh, I hated the Browns, but I liked a bunch of play­ers a lot. Sam Rutigliano (for­mer Browns coach) be­friended me years ago, and I get ex­cited ev­ery time I get a lit­tle note from him be­cause on the front it’s him and (for­mer Browns quar­ter­back) Brian Sipe.”

Ha­ley was non-com­mit­tal when asked to eval­u­ate quar­ter­back DeShone Kizer, plus wide re­ceivers Josh Gor­don and Corey Cole­man.

“I’m in the process of do­ing that,” Ha­ley said. “I don’t want to speak too early on any­thing, and it is

a process, so I’m just go­ing to re­spect that.”

Ha­ley did say one thing that will be mu­sic to the ears of Browns fans, and it comes as no sur­prise: The Browns will run the ball with Ha­ley call­ing plays.

“You have to run the ball, and the key is, you have to run the ball when the other team knows you’re go­ing to run it,” Ha­ley said. “As far as an over­all phi­los­o­phy, I’ll do whatever gives us the best chance to win and I think you saw that over the past six years.

“There were games we threw it 45 times to win and games we ran it 35 times to win. Whatever gives us the best chance to win, that’s what we’ll do. If we need to make ad­just­ments, we’ll make ad­just­ments.”

The Browns were 18th in

rush­ing yardage (1,714) in 2017, but only 27th in rush­ing at­tempts (384). They didn’t rush more of­ten for two rea­sons: They were play­ing from be­hind most of the sea­son and the pass of­fense did not scare op­po­nents, so de­fenses were able to over­play the run.

Ha­ley’s of­fense con­tains ter­mi­nol­ogy the play­ers will have to learn, but since a dif­fer­ent quar­ter­back will likely run the team, that shouldn’t be a huge set­back.

Ha­ley had Ben Roeth­lis­berger at quar­ter­back, Le’Veon Bell as his run­ning back and An­to­nio Brown as his pri­mary re­ceiver with the Steel­ers. Those play­ers re­main in Pitts­burgh. He be­lieves, how­ever, he will help turn around the cul­ture in Berea with­out the

Killer B’s so vi­tal to the Steel­ers’ suc­cess.

“I’ve been in that sit­u­a­tion mul­ti­ple times and, re­ally, you’ve got to just rely on your be­liefs and the way that you’ve been taught through the years,” Ha­ley said. “But it’s come out: Work hard, make sure the play­ers un­der­stand you’re giv­ing them a chance to suc­ceed and, if you do that, there’s gen­er­ally a pretty good re­sponse. Teach them how to play smart foot­ball, be­cause, ob­vi­ously, there were a lot of close games last year here and if you can turn those in your di­rec­tion, you’ll start to cre­ate the kind of cul­ture you’re look­ing for.”

The Browns are 1-31 over the last two sea­sons. Ha­ley is def­i­nitely fac­ing a chal­lenge.


Af­ter six suc­cess­ful sea­sons guid­ing one of the NFL’s most high-pow­ered of­fenses in Pitts­burgh, Todd Ha­ley is start­ing anew as of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor of the win­less Browns.

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