PITTSBURGH — The Steelers overhauled their offensive staff this past offseason. From the hire of Adrian Klemm as offensive line coach to Matt Canada as the new Offensive Coordinator, the Steelers’ offense will look much different this season.
For a quarterback who will be coming back for his 18th season, the shift from his previous offenses to Canada’s offense is drastic. Roethlisberger is meeting the challenge of learning a new offense head-on, however, and he is looking to execute Canada’s vision on the gridiron.
“There is a lot of new, in all seriousness,” Roethlisberger said about Canada’s offense. “For someone who has had a similar offense for a long time, verbiage-wise, it’s taking some extra studying. But it’s a fun new challenge and guys are getting it. Hopefully, it translates into winning football.”
While Roethlisberger is often used to shotgun-only play along with his own set of play calls that he loves to audible into on any given look, Canada’s new offense is certainly a shift from what he has done. Roethlisberger knows that the transition for him is going to be harder than that of the younger players.
“When you’ve had a very similar offense for 17 years and then something looks the same but is called something completely different, it’s very difficult,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s a big challenge, but that’s the game the game of football.”
As for what Canada’s offense entails, Roethlisberger knows that there will be different things that he has to do more often. On Tuesday, Roethlisberger gave a small glimpse into what Canada may be expecting from him.
“We’ve gone under center, we’ve got shotgun,” Roethlisberger said. “Yeah, he’s got more motions, but I feel that’s where the NFL’s kinda going right now with a lot of the jet sweep motions and stuff.”
Roethlisberger’s willingness and want to do things like go under center seems to be there as he is in pursuit of his third Super Bowl.
“I can go under center,” Roethlisberger said. “I never said I didn’t like it. We’ll be under center, we’ll be in the gun, we’ll move, I mean, we’ll throw a lot of different looks and schemes at people and see what works.”
There is certainly an aura of difference from Roethlisberger about Canada’s offense. He seems optimistic, and their discussions up to this point seem to be productive.
“We’ve had quite a few communications,” Roethlisberger said of he and Canada. “He’s come over, we’ve talked. I told him that I know this is your offense, and he’s like, ‘No, no, this is our offense.’ But I’m like, ‘No, it’s yours.’
“And I’m just really trying to do everything I can to be open to the new challenge and say, ‘OK, I’m learning, OK got it, got it.’ If something is confusing or something doesn’t quite make sense, I say, ‘Talk to me, tell me how I can better understand this or how I can learn this or learn the formation names or what is your trick to learning things.'”
Even with that, Canada has left the door open for his quarterback to have some input in the new offense.
“We just have been constantly communicating,” Roethlisberger said. “And he has been really good about, “Hey Ben, if there is something you don’t like, just let me know and we can talk through it or throw it out.” It’s just been communication. I think communication is key to anything, I’ve said that before. That’s what we have been doing and I think it’s going really well so far.”
How Roethlisberger adjusts to more play-action, under center, rollouts, and other such new things will be key to how well the Steelers offense will play this season. It is the beginning stages of the transition, but thus far, it seems Roethlisberger is buying in and up for the challenge.