The last season of Ben Roethlisberger’s career under Matt Canada was odd. For one, the marriage between scheme and coordinator with a player like Roethlisberger always seemed weird. But the Steelers gave it a shot because they liked Canada, and Roethlisberger was a franchise icon. On Wednesday, Roethlisberger said he was surprised the team moved on from Canada.
“Well, I was surprised,” Roethlisberger said on WDVE. “Very unlike them. I didn’t expect it midseason like that. Very uncharacteristic.”
However, Roethlisberger went more in-depth on his Footbahlin podcast and revealed some odd details about his last year in the NFL under Canada. For one, Roethlisberger had seen several different offensive coordinators over his career, but Canada was the only one he did not coordinate with weekly. Instead, there was a direct quarterbacks coach working more hands-on with him than in Canada, and that continued throughout each week.
“Quarterback coaches are the go-between when you are butting heads with the coordinator,” Roethlisberger said. “I’ve always worked closely with the coordinator, even when I had a quarterback coach. I didn’t feel that with Matt. It almost felt like Matt wanted to let the quarterback coach coach me.”
One thing about Matt Canada and his background is that he was never much of a quarterback guru. It’s not surprising that he wanted a dedicated quarterbacks coach to work with the quarterbacks. And no one knows if Kenny Pickett had the same hands-off experience as Roethlisberger had, but when communication troubles arise, it is fair to point to things like this throughout a week’s prep.
“Right or wrong, maybe it’s just the way he does it,” Roethlisberger said. “Maybe he just didn’t want to do it with me. I don’t really know that. That was the first time I felt I wasn’t working directly with the coordinator. It seems weird. Maybe that is why Kenny feels more comfortable with Sully. Maybe the same thing was going on where Matt was more removed. ‘I’m the coordinator. I’ll coordinate. You work with Sully.'”
Regardless, the Canada era is now in the past for the Steelers. The Steelers gained 400 yards for the first time this season against the Bengals and for the first time since 2020, and quarterback Kenny Pickett posted the second-highest single-game passer rating of his career at 97.8; they still have much to accomplish, especially in the red zone. But regardless, they looked much better and it seems that move might just pay off.