The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How much of an impact will Matt Canada have on the development of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges (and/or any other young quarterbacks who are in the system this year)?
For the first time in a decade, the Steelers have a new voice at the quarterback coach position. Randy Fichtner had served in that role since 2010, but after two seasons wielding dual titles as offensive coordinator, the team elected to go out and hire somebody to fill that position coach duty.
That proved to be Matt Canada, who has a fairly extensive resume coaching the position (and also serving as offensive coordinator) at the collegiate level, but this is his first job in the NFL. He joins Ike Hilliard as the new wide receivers coach as the latest additions to the coaching staff.
With Ben Roethlisberger missing 14 games last season, the spotlight was really put on the quarterback coach position, since for the rest of the season the Steelers’ passes were thrown exclusively by players who had never done it in a meaningful professional game before.
For many, it had grown to be overwhelmingly obvious that there were certain shortcomings in the arrangement of Fichtner both serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, with some help from Matt Symmes. Rudolph in particular, who is seen as the backup and a possible future starter, really needs to benefit from this new arrangement, but will he, and how much?