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Mehno: Haley hasn’t lived up to his hothead reputation

November 18, 2012
By John Mehno - For the Mirror

PITTSBURGH - Todd Haley came to town with a reputation, and he hasn't lived up to it.

That's good news for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The quick profile on Haley was that he was an ultra-intense coach and a screamer. He was such a hothead that he'd often follow players to the bench just to yell at them some more.

He was considered a guy who was a little too sure of himself and his ways, to the detriment of keeping some semblance of peace in an often volatile business.

But the Haley who's the Steelers' first-year offensive coordinator has had a completely different approach.

That point was driven home this week when Haley said he would fit the Steelers' offense to quarterback Byron Leftwich's skills rather than expecting Leftwich to execute the same plan that would have been in place for Ben Roethlisberger.

That shows flexibility that is not always a part of a coordinator's repertoire. The Steelers have had coaches who expected everyone to follow their standard template. Kevin Gilbride was intent on making Kordell Stewart into a pocket passer and subjugating the one element that gave Stewart a chance to be better than mediocre.

Through the first half of the season, Haley hasn't had any major sideline blowups. Maybe he's taken a different approach after his sour experience as Kansas City's head coach. Perhaps Mike Tomlin told him it would be a good idea to tone things down with a group that isn't accustomed to a lot of histrionics.

Whatever the case, it's been a smooth ride through the first nine games.

Of all the issues dogging the Steelers these days, compatibility with the new offensive coordinator hasn't been one of them.

Staff addition

Root Sports hired Robby Incmikoski to fill the reporter spot from which Lacee Collins was booted last summer.

Incmikoski, a Philadelphia native, spent four years working for a similar sports channel in Minnesota. According to some blog posts, Incmikoski's live interviews were often awkward and uncomfortable.

Hey, that's Dan Potash 's job.

Bay beached

The New York Mets gave Jason Bay $21 million to go away and forget the final year of a free agent contract they deeply regret.

He's available for the major league minimum salary but, no, he's not a good fit for the Pirates.

He couldn't play left field at PNC Park at this point, so that leaves right field. The Pirates are better off playing Travis Snider than hoping to squeeze something out of a 34-year-old who's coming off consecutive bad, injury-filled seasons.

Mehno can be reached at

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