For the record, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said Thursday that there was no sideline confrontation between he and star receiver Antonio Brown Monday night at Cincinnati.
There’s been speculation that Brown — unhappy with the amount of times passes were thrown in his direction during the first half of the Steelers 20-10 loss to the Bengals — initiated an argument with Haley that remained an issue into the next day. Brown said he wasn’t complaining. He just “went to the person who controls the scheme of the game to see what he could do.”
Haley tabled the issue on Thursday, as Pittsburgh (0-2) prepares for Chicago (2-0).
“There’s no problem whatsoever between he and I,” Haley said. “And I didn’t see anything different in that game interaction-wise between he and I. I thought it was just about what it always is, and when things aren’t going good and for things not going well, I thought those guys have handled it well.
“There was no confrontation. So, that’s all I can say.”
Haley added that receivers wanting the ball isn’t a new development. That’s been the case, he said, with everyone he has coached for 12 years. The key is to keep lines of communication open between the players and coaches.
“From last year, through the offseason and into this year, there’s been a natural evolution of guys developing that trust and confidence to do it,” Haley said. “And I feel good interaction across the board. Now, the problem is that we’re not getting results, so that’s what needs to be fixed. We’re frustrated.
“We’re 0-2 during the first quarter of the season, and that’s all it is. We’ve had a good couple days. That’s the bottom line, to figure out a way to get to 1-2. And then from there, try to move forward. It’s the NFL.”
The Steelers have scored just 19 points this season.
“It’s hard to win when you have turnovers in plus-territory (past the 50-yard line) and run the ball inefficiently for too much of a game,” Haley said. “Those things are going to happen to you, but we have to make sure that they don’t continue.”
Brown noted that he and Haley have discussed the player’s role in the offense.
“We talked about what we could do better as a whole,” Brown said, “and what we could do to get on the right page to start winning.”
Haley believes that the solution was quite simple. They need to protect the football better, not turn it over and take advantage of their opportunities.
“If you look at the situations where the ball was turned over, those are points,” Haley said. “We’re costing ourselves points. Do we want to score more points? Absolutely, yes. In the last game, our first eight third downs were all seven (yards) and longer. That’s going to be a rough day, no matter what’s happening.
“So, we’ve got to be better on first and second down.”
Cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day, but he was the only Steeler to sit out Thursday’s workout. ... Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (heel) was limited for a second straight day, but running back Le’Veon Bell was a full-time participant. He was joined by tight end Heath Miller (knee), cornerback Curtis Brown (illness), defensive end Brett Keisel (calf) and nose tackle Steve McLendon (hamstring).