The Pittsburgh Steelers hired Matt Canada to be the team’s new quarterbacks coach in 2020, an extra duty that offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner has had the last few seasons. On Tuesday, Canada met with the media via Zoom conference call and during the sessions he was asked about two of the Steelers backup quarterbacks, Mason Rudolph.
Canada was first asked to comment on Rudolph, who seemingly enters the team’s 20290 training camp as the backup to starter Ben Roethlisberger. More specifically, Canada was asked to comment on what he’s seen of Rudolph on film since he was hired that will help him become a better quarterback and maybe one that might be able to become a starter down the road.
“Obviously, experience is huge, and everybody doesn’t get that,” Canada said of Rudolph, who started eight games last season after Roethlisberger went down injured in Week 2. “So, certainly for last year, that wasn’t what was scripted or what was planned, but he was able to get that experience. And he’s learned a lot from it. We have had a lot of film time to study what went on last year, what we could maybe do better, what we can see, what he did well.
“Obviously, you want to magnify strengths and minimize weaknesses. So those things that we did well, we want to keep trying to find those plays, those concepts. And the things we didn’t do as well, we either want to correct and improve, which we’re going to do, and also minimize how many times they do it. And so, he’s certainly got a great desire to learn. He certainly has a great desire to get better and is excited to get back going like we all are today.”
Later during his media session, Canada was asked about Lynch, who spent a good most of his time last season on the Steelers practice squad. Specifically, Canada was asked if he knows what it is that’s been holding Lynch back since entering the NFL as a first-round draft pick with the Denver Broncos in 2016 and if he’s yet to figure out the player’s potential since he was hired to the coaching staff.
“I mean, obviously, he’s got a lot of talent,” Canada said of Lynch, who was active for just one Steelers game last season. “He was a high draft [pick] and all those good things, and you never know at different places, you know, timing is everything in life. In situations you go into, sometimes you play in a system that fits you, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes, there’s always other circumstances.
“My time with Paxton has been really, really good. Starting through the virtual part in the spring, his desire to learn, I think he has a great grasp of our offense right now. And I think he’s excited to come in and compete and he’s going about it the right way – trying to learn all the time. Trying to get timing with the guys, as every quarterback has to do when you come into a new situation, a new organization. So, I think it’s a very exciting time to watch and see how he does develop and see where we go.”
It’s not surprising that Canada didn’t get into specifics when it comes to what it is that both Rudolph and Lynch need to work on moving forward to become better all-around quarterbacks. Whatever those specifics are with them and the other backup quarterback on the roster, Devlin Hodges, not having offseason practices this year will certainly impact how much each can improve and work on fixing those issues. One of either Lynch or Hodges will be cut by the time the regular season starts while the remaining one can probably look forward to being on the inactive list most of the year.
While Canada will obviously assist Roethlisberger in whatever ways he can, the team’s new quarterbacks coach knows a lot of his coaching of that position group will be directed toward the other three backups on the roster.
“Obviously, the younger guys are different, they don’t have as much helmet time and playing experience,” Canada said on Tuesday. “So, working with everybody, but there’s certainly a difference.”