Steelers anxious to start learning new offense

The Sports Xchange
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Todd Haley is putting together the new Steelers playbook on offense with input from his fellow coaches, and it won't be familiar to Ben Roethlisberger and his teammates.

One thing that won't change much is the blocking scheme for the line.

They will have to learn new terminology to go with the new offense and they won't get their playbooks until April 16.

"That works for us, particularly in the situation we are in, because it gives us time to continue to develop our plan offensively," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We have a new approach there."

Tomlin will not reveal what that approach will be on offense, but said it will take advantage of the Steelers' current personnel, with a heavy emphasis on Roethlisberger.

"It's been fun. (Haley) is very flexible and very sound in his approach. We've had awesome discussions in terms of building it, but as I always say, and it will be the case, we are going to build our attack around the strengths of our men. Ben Roethlisberger is a talented guy. We have talented receivers. We have an interesting group of running back prospects. We are putting together an offensive line.

"We are laying down the fundamental bases of how we are going to approach what is going to be good for us, regardless of circumstances. I really think some of the personality things, some of the things that will capture people's attentions, have yet to be discovered because of roles and so forth. We are having fun. We've had some good discussions. He has really brought some awesome ideas and approaches to the group."

The one they need to embrace it is Roethlisberger, who was not happy that his former coordinator, Bruce Arians, was fired. He and Arians were close. There have been suggestions that with that in mind and with Haley's reputation as sometimes prickly with a short temper.

"I try not to paint with such a broad brush from a personality standpoint," Tomlin said. "I think we are all humans. We all have swings of emotion. We all use different coaching techniques. I would agree that he does have a reputation in that regard, but I am not going to pre-judge him. Like any good coach, I am sure he is prepared to be whatever the group needs him to be."

Roethlisberger will make the biggest transition of his nine-year career in 2012. He just turned 30, lost his most comfortable receiver in Hines Ward and has a new coordinator and offense to deal with. Steelers president Art Rooney also suggested the quarterback needs to "tweak" his game, suggesting he needs to stay in the pocket and release the ball more quickly so he does not take more poundings as he gets older.

"Ben is a competitor, Ben is a professional," Tomlin said. "He is going to continue to work at it, he is not going to rest on past success, he is going to continue to chase dreams and goals, and I think the evolution of his game is a part of that.

"I think Ben is Ben and we are not going to ask him to be something he is not. I just think you are going to continue to see him game evolve and mature, as he should."

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