McDonald Talks Benefits Of More Canada-Influenced Motions, Play Action In 2020

The buzz ever since the Pittsburgh Steelers hired Matt Canada to be the team’s new quarterbacks coach has been centered around what ideas he might bring to the offensive scheme and especially as it relates to the possibility of more motion and play action. On Friday, Steelers tight end Vance McDonald took part in a Steelers Nation United call with fans and during it he was asked to give his thoughts on the offseason addition of Canada and if it would result in the offense using more motion and play action in 2020.

“Yeah, that’s definitely something I know we had moved away from in the past, a lot of play action,” McDonald said. “And I know just listening to the history of sort of the offensive stuff, I know that was a big thing, that was a big part of Ben’s success, especially early in his career. And it’s been really neat to have Coach Matt Canada come in because I think the way the game is evolving; you see a lot of offenses now moving towards that. Man, if we can beat you pre-snap, why not? And so, you see a lot of communication that’s having to happen on the defensive side of the ball and when one guy is not on the same page, man, that’s opportunity offense.’

While it’s definitely sounding more and more like more pre-snap motion and play action is on the way for the Steelers in 2020, McDonald seemingly made it clear on Friday that those things will be married up with a good chunk of the offense that offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner has been running the last few seasons.

“And so, having coach Canada here, introducing that to us and mixing that into what we have been running in the past, it’s been new definitely for everyone,” McDonald said. “But I think it’s going to be a really great marriage mixing some of his philosophy in with some of the old school stuff that Ben and the guys that have been around for a while – Randy [Fichtner] – and what we’ve been doing around it, it’s going to be a great marriage on offense.”

What McDonald said on Friday now leaves nothing to the imagination when it comes to what the Steelers offense is going to look like in 2020. Most of us have speculated since Canada’s hiring that we’ll see more pre-snap motion and misdirection. On top of that, it’s also becoming more and more evident that the offense will start using more play action than in recent years, which Roethlisberger was especially effective in during the first two-thirds of his NFL career.

Will we see Roethlisberger under center more than we have the last several years? It’s possible and especially if the Steelers offense uses two tight end personnel groupings more like has been hinted this offseason. While we wait to see exactly what the Steelers offense will look like in 2020, McDonald sure did a great job on Friday on selling the new things we’re starting to expect.

“I think we’re going to see a lot of really great things out of it, too, coming into the year,” McDonald said.

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