Todd Haley brings instant credibility with offensive coordinator hire

Todd Haley is known as a smart, hard-charging coach who isn't afraid to challenge players. Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire

Todd Haley?

Sign me up.

There’s zero reason to complain about his hire as the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator. Haley brings credibility and accomplishment with him from Pittburgh.

This move strengthens the coaching staff and allows Hue Jackson to focus on the big picture, especially with Haley expected to take over play-calling. Haley has been successful in Arizona with Kurt Warner, in Kansas City (for one season at least) with Matt Cassel, and in Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger.

He is a straight-shooting, in-your-face guy who is not afraid to challenge players (look out Corey Coleman), and he will hold everyone accountable on the offense -- including the receivers and backs.

To say that Haley had an easy job in Pittsburgh given the talent he had on offense does oversimplify things a tad. Haley had to juggle the desires of Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant, all of whom wanted the ball, along with the desires of Ben Roethlisberger to run the offense.

That is not an insignificant amount of ego to juggle.

The results speak for themselves.

During Haley's tenure, the Steelers were third in the league in yards per play, and in the last four seasons were second in scoring behind New England. In his six seasons, Pittsburgh’s offense ranked third, seventh, third, second, 20th and 21st.

The Steelers did not retain Haley after the offense scored 42 points in a playoff loss to Jacksonville. Haley’s blunt and hard-charging manner can rub some the wrong way, and in this era in the NFL the quarterback is paramount. So Roethlisberger’s quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner was promoted to coordinator.

Haley also will run the ball. Even with Roethlisberger and Brown, the Steelers ran the ball 40 percent of the time in 2017 and 41 percent in 2016.

One other thought on the hire: It shows something about the way Jackson views his job.

One year ago he hired one of the more forceful defensive coaches in the league in Gregg Williams. This offseason the Browns barely hesitated when Haley became available.

Jackson and GM John Dorsey were clearly not going to hire a coordinator without some chops. The Browns pursued Mike Mularkey (briefly) and Ben McAdoo, both of whom had experience as a coordinator and coach. They also interviewed Sean Ryan, but did not offer the Texans quarterback coach the job.

Hiring Haley shows a level of security on Jackson’s part — even as he comes off 0-16 and 1-31. A coach who is insecure is not going to bring coordinators on his staff who have resumes to replace him.

The Browns and Jackson seem to realize that their coach needs to be the coach, and that they need a strong coordinator to handle the offense.

They have that now in Haley.

Now it’s time to start adding the players.