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Smart guys, high energy & hostile environment

Posted Oct 5, 2017

Learn more in this week's edition of Coordinator's Corner.

Each week one of the Steelers coordinators will share their insight in an exclusive interview that can be heard on SNR every Thursday in the 3 p.m. hour.

This version of Coordinators Corner will give you a sneak peek of what to expect, but it just touches the surface. Read what they have to say, but take my advice, listen every Thursday for the full interview. It will be worth your time.

Featured this week is offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

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Keeping it tight: With Marcus Gilbert missing the last two games with a hamstring injury, Chris Hubbard has been impressive stepping in at right tackle. But with Hubbard playing tackle, that means another player has to step in to the blocking tight end role he plays in certain situations. And that has been B.J. Finney. It’s not a role just anyone can step into, as it requires different responsibilities and skills, something Haley said they are lucky to have in Hubbard and Finney.

“We have a unique group,” said Haley. “One of the unique things about the group is having a couple of backup guys that are very, very versatile, not just with the offensive line, but being able to play tight end. I don’t know how many times he reported, but it was a lot.

“It’s not for everybody. Number one you have to have smart guys. Both of those guys are smart and understand moving around requires different roles and different understanding of each and every play, run and pass. It’s very comforting to have Hubb to step in and start at tackle and you still have a guy you can plug in there and play at a high level.”

The question is, though, have either Hubbard or Finney been looking for a pass to come their way? You have to listen to the full interview at 3 p.m. today to find out.

JuJu on the beat: Rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster is making his presence known in the passing game as he gets his feet wet, but that isn’t the only area where he has been impactful. Smith-Schuster is also becoming a big part of the run game with his blocking, and that showed against the Ravens.

“We were excited about him coming out of training camp with his ability to play inside, be physical, and add something to our run game,” said Haley. “He hasn’t disappointed. He hasn’t been perfect. He is a big guy that is into blocking, you don’t always get that. There is a high energy violence to his game. It’s full speed and making guys aware that he is in there. In the run game, in a game like that, he is a huge component of what we are trying to get done.

“At the same time he has a couple of touchdowns now, he is making plays in the pass game.”  

On the run: After not getting going the first few weeks of the season, the running game took off on Sunday against the Ravens with Le’Veon Bell carrying the ball 35 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Haley gave a little insight as to why, but again, listen to the full interview to find out more.

“We went into that game knowing you could get in trouble pretty easy there, a hostile environment,” said Haley. “We went in with the mentality that we were going to play it close to the vest.”