Ever since Matt Canada was promoted to become the new offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers back in January, observers have wondered whether quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would have to adapt to Canada’s offense, or whether Canada would be mostly deferential to the 18-year veteran. On Tuesday, Canada met with the media for the first time since his promotion, and he gave a strong indication that he won’t be taking Roethlisberger very far outside his comfort zone.
“We’re going to do what Ben wants to do and how Ben wants to do it,” said Canada.
This isn’t to say there haven’t been significant changes to the Randy Fichtner-led offense that the team operated last season.
Canada: ‘Matchups Are How You Win Games’
“There are changes with terminology [and] how we are calling things, which has been an adjustment for Ben,” noted Canada on Tuesday, “and he has been great in learning it and doing really well with it. I think he has adapted easily, just as we all knew he would.”
Yet one would expect to see at least some hallmarks of the offenses that Canada has run in the past, which have featured jet-sweeps, play action passing, and a significant amount of pre-snap motion.
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That perhaps explains why Roethlisberger said fans could expect “a lot of new” in the team’s 2021 offense.
“But matchups are how you win football games,” elaborated Canada on Tuesday. “That starts with the quarterback; what does he do well, what does he like, what does he see—what is good to his eye in the passing game. And then we build off that. That’s what we’re gonna do…. His voice, his vision and what he sees will be what we do.”
Notably, not everyone is convinced that the Steelers offense is going to be successful with a 39-year-old Roethlisberger at the controls. Recently one NFL observer said the Steelers better “hope” and “pray” that new offensive line coach Adrian Klemm can hasten the rebuild of the team’s offensive line. If nothing else, Klemm has promised that his charges will play with a “way more aggressive” mindset. And the running game has seen a significant upgrade with the addition of running back Najee Harris, selected with the team’s first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Roethlisberger, JuJu Smith-Schuster Injured at First Minicamp Practice
But if you’re looking for an omen about what the football gods may have in store for Pittsburgh’s offense in 2021 … it’s worth noting that both Roethlisberger and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered injuries that caused them to stop practicing on Tuesday. The good news is that injury is believed to be significant, this according to Brooke Pryor of ESPN, via Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
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