PITTSBURGH — The Steelers hired new Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada in hopes of getting a revitalized offense. However, one glaringly obvious part of overhauling the offense was just how Ben Roethlisberger would fit into the equation. Canada has not worked with a quarterback quite like Roethlisberger ever before. With two strong-minded individuals, finding a balance between their visions is critical to any success the offense may have.
On Tuesday, Canada gave a clear indication that the offense is a collaborative effort, and he is looking to play to the strengths that Roethlisberger brings to the table.
“Football, it’s 11 men doing their job and quarterback is the focal point,” Canada said. “It’s the greatest position in all of sports in my opinion because of the things you have to do. And we’re going to do what Ben wants and how Ben wants to do it. Our job is to put every player in a position to make plays.”
Canada signals here that Roethlisberger will have input in the offensive scheme. However, this is something that Mason Rudolph noted last Tuesday. Canada puts together a package of plays that the quarterback likes the most, and he builds off from that to keep the quarterback in charge and comfortable. It seems likely that Roethlisberger will have some input, but not complete control.
“Matchups are how you win football games,” Canada said. “Ben starts at QB. What does he do? What does he like? What does he see? What is good to his eye in the passing game? And we build off that.”
The new concepts that Roethlisberger must get comfortable with include being under center more and play-action concepts. While there is a concern for the Steelers if Roethlisberger can comfortably execute off of play-action and the new concepts, Canada has no doubt that his quarterback can do all that he asks of him.
“Ben can do everything really well,” Canada said. “I don’t have any concern about Ben doing anything that we want to do.”
Roethlisberger only threw 79 play-action passes last season according to Sports Info Solutions. So, this will certainly be an adjustment for Roethlisberger, as that was the lowest amount in the NFL. Still, there are keys that Canada wants to keep, and most importantly, a focal point that relates to tempo.
“I’m a big believer in tempo and the changing of the tempo,” Canada said. “I think if you always go fast, defenses get used to that, if you always walk out of the huddle, defenses get used to that. We are certainly going to continue to use tempo and use the things Ben is very good at. The changing of tempo is very important, and I think Ben is really, really good at it.”
Canada is shedding light that there will be new plays in this offense, but the mainstays to keep Roethlisberger comfortable are a must. It may not be a full-on transformation in 2021, but there will be things Roethlisberger has to work on. For Canada, that all goes to the practice field, where he says Roethlisberger has picked up on verbiage and concepts well.
“So, there are changes to our terminology, how we’re calling things. which has been an adjustment for Ben, and he’s great and really learning it,” Canada said.
Just how the mesh of this all works out remains to be seen. The Steelers tried to run some of Canada’s concepts last season, but it never fully worked out. Now, with a seemingly full-on commitment to the Canada scheme and concepts, he and Roethlisberger will have to work out the best game plan to succeed for both of them. In order for the offense to drastically improve, the relationship between Canada and Roethlisberger must be strong.