30 is the goal:** Last year the Steelers' offense averaged 26.4 points per game in the regular season. Not a bad number at all. But that wasn't the goal. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley set the goal at 30 points a game last year, and it's the same this year. Having success in the red zone definitely will help them achieve that goal.
"Thirty points per game is still a goal," said Haley. "I think what we did great last year was we got in the red zone a bunch. We probably scored 6 out of the 10 times we were in there and we always want that to be better. There's not a lot of separation from us and the top teams in the red, but clearly when you get down into that area of the field you got to come away with points and the more times it's touchdowns the better.
"If you're looking at reasons why we didn't get to 30, I'd say turnovers number one. Anytime you give up possessions, you're giving yourself one less chance to score points. And then red. I think we did a pretty good job scoring outside the fringe red area. We made some big plays, so those have to continue. We have to get a little better in the red and then we'll be going in the right direction."
Haley said the goal for the offense is to be the best in the NFL, and 30 points a game will definitely help them attain that.
"Time will tell," said Haley. "We have a lot of work ahead of us. We set a high bar the last few years. The guys that have been here know it and I think they are up for the challenge."
Giving Bell a break:** Haley is looking forward to getting running back Le'Veon Bell back on the field after a knee injury last November put an end to his 2015 season. But he also plans on utilizing Le'Veon Bell, who carried the load for the ground game in Bell's absence.
"I think the difference between last year and this year is that we got a big body of work from DeAngelo last year," said Haley. "We got to see him do a lot of things, and obviously he did a very good job for us. Knowing a lot more about him will maybe help give Le'Veon more rest when he needs it, although knowing Le'Veon he never wants to come off. But I think the interesting thing about the scenario is that we've seen DeAngelo for a year in our offense and doing things the way we do them, so it's an exciting thing to look forward to."
Sammie steps up: Second year receiver Sammie Coates spent the entire offseason in Pittsburgh, working out at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on his own through the winter, and then taking part in every aspect of the offseason program. His work hasn't gone unnoticed.
"He's had a tremendous offseason," said Haley. "A guy that any day you were in here he was in here. You don't see that with everybody, so you know he had turned it up a notch. I thought he finished the year in strong fashion, it wasn't an easy year. It's not an easy year for a guy that's been playing in the NCAA at a high level to be running scout team. But as the year went on I think everybody saw him growing and we saw it continue in the offseason and its continued out here. He understands that there's great opportunity."