It’s very reasonable for Todd Haley to compliment his quarterbacks room in Cleveland. However, he didn’t need to take a shot at Big Ben in the process.
Games between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers might be a little more tense in 2018. Browns’ offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s recent comments will certainly draw the ire of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
On the surface, Haley’s comments were innocent enough. He referred to his current quarterbacks room as “one of the best-if not the best” groups he’s ever had the chance to work with. In particular, he highlighted the group’s intelligence and ability to make plays with their legs.
Closer examination makes it pretty obvious he was taking a shot at his former quarterback star. There’s no secret Haley and Roethlisberger have experienced tension in the past. If there wasn’t a checkered history between the two, it might be reasonable to accept Haley’s comments as innocent. As it stands, coming to such a conclusion would be naive.
There’s no reasonable argument to be made that Haley’s current group of signal caller is better than the groups he had to coach in Pittsburgh. Tyrod Taylor is a journeyman starter. Drew Stanton is a reasonable backup at best. Baker Mayfield may ultimately become a star, but he hasn’t proven anything at the NFL level as of yet. This is not a trio of Hall of Famers.
In sharp contrast, Roethlisberger is a two-time Super Bowl winner who’s made the Pro Bowl six times. He obviously isn’t Haley’s best friend off the field, but he’s the best quarterback he’s had the privilege to coach. No Browns fan with a shred of objectivity can argue otherwise.
If asked, expect Haley to deny the assertion that these comments had anything to do with Roethlisberger and his old team. He’ll simply claim he is entirely focused on his current players and only wanted to give them a bit of confidence via the media. Don’t be fooled by Haley’s claims of innocence. He knew exactly what he was doing when he made these comments. Tweaking Ben Roethlisberger was absolutely part of his calculus.