Following a season in which the Pittsburgh Steelers offense floundered without Ben Roethlisberger in an offensive scheme that seemed too static under Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, the team believes that the additions of two new offensive position coaches to the staff are going to have an influence on what they do this season in a positive way.
While the hiring of a new wide receivers coach became necessary under tragic circumstances, the team also went out and found a new quarterbacks coach after Randy Fichtner tried to do that job and be the offensive coordinator for the past two seasons. Now he just has the latter role on his hands.
Matt Canada, who has extensive experience wielding both roles at the college level, is coming in as the new position coach for the quarterbacks, but it’s already been very abundantly clear that that will not be his only role. New wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard also sounds as though he is having his voice heard.
Earlier today while speaking to reporters, Ben Roethlisberger said that he believes the influences of the new coaches are helping the offense to evolve. “I think Coach Canada’s bringing in a lot of uniqueness in the run game”, he said, “and I think that a Coach Hilliard with both his playing and coaching experience is able to bring in some things in the pass game in terms of schemes, in terms of new plays”.
You wouldn’t ordinarily think to hear about the influence of a quarterbacks coach in the run game, but Canada is an experienced play-caller, even if at the collegiate level, and basically everybody has taken it as a welcome sign that the Steelers have seemingly been very receptive to his input.
“It’s fun to kind of pick their brains and what they’ve done in the past and what they’ve seen and kind of infuse it into our offense that we’ve already had”, Roethlisberger said of the two new staff members, including his own new position coach—the first new quarterbacks coach he’s had in a decade. “So we’ll definitely see some different things this year”.
Pretty much the only thing that we’ve been able to glean from reports and interviews in terms of actual details has been that the Steelers will evidently be making much heavier use of pre-snap motion than they have in the past, as the team—and most around the league this training camp—has been very strict about not letting information out.
Perhaps the process of introducing all of these new wrinkles is one of the reasons that, as Roethlisberger says, the defense has been clearly winning the team’s 11-on-11 sessions so far in camp. That side of the ball is more or less status quo from last season, while there is a fair amount of change taking place offensively.