Steelers notebook: Todd Haley, Keith Butler match wits in Cleveland
For the past three years, Todd Haley’s offense went against Keith Butler’s defense every day on the practice field. When the two coordinators meet Sunday, it will happen for the first time in the regular season, and they will be on opposite sidelines.
Haley, the Steelers offensive coordinator for the past six seasons, will face his former team in his first game calling plays for the Cleveland Browns. That means matching wits against Butler, who is entering his fourth season as Steelers defensive coordinator.
“Todd knows what we do, and we know what he does so it’s going to be fun,” Butler said. “But we aren’t playing. Todd and I aren’t playing. The players are. It’s what we can teach them, what we can coach and stuff like that.”
Haley is working with an overhauled roster led by quarterback Tyrod Taylor, running back Carlos Hyde and receiver Jarvis Landry — all newcomers to a team that went 0-16 last season. Haley, theoretically, knows how to attack the Steelers defense, which has nine starters back from last season.
The Steelers, however, also should be familiar with Haley’s tendencies as a playcaller.
“He’ll do something different,” Butler said. “I know him. He’s not going to do the same old, same old that he’s always done. He’s always changed up, and I agree with him in terms of trying to coach in the NFL. You can’t do the same thing all the time because if you do, somebody is going to catch up to you.
“I’m sure he’ll have something different for us than what he showed.”
The Steelers and Browns are meeting in the season opener for the second year in a row and for the eighth time in the series, which began in 1950.
The Steelers are 5-2 in openers against the Browns and have won the past four. The last loss was a 13-3 setback in the 1990 opener. The previous year, the Browns whipped the Steelers, 51-0, to kick off the season.
History lesson II
Much has been made of Ben Roethlisberger’s 21-2 career record against the Browns and that he is the winningest quarterback in FirstEnergy Stadium history.
Lesser known is Antonio Brown’s success against Cleveland. In 12 matchups, in which the Steelers are 11-1, Brown has 86 catches for 1,312 yards and seven touchdowns. He leads all active players in receptions, touchdowns and catches of 25-plus yards (12) against the Browns.
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at [email protected] or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.