The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Matt Canada’s imprint on the offense will be visually evident on the field beyond pre-snap motion.
Explanation: A number of different people have talked about new quarterbacks coach Matt Canada and the input that he has had on the offense. Several different players have talked about pre-snap motion, but multiple significant people have also mentioned his contributions to the running game, and he surely has his hands in other areas as well.
Considering how static the offense was last season, at least when they weren’t trying desperation moves like resorting to Jaylen Samuels in the Wildcat, it shouldn’t be hard to identify the changes that we will see as a product of Canada’s influence.
More than ever this offseason, the Steelers have been emphasizing the fact that they are open to receiving ideas from no matter where they come, and that has just so happened to coincide with Canada being brought in. Mike Tomlin has admitted that he has been on their radar for years, so this was not an idle decision, but they never had a clear opportunity to bring him into the fold before.
In 2018, the offense was controlled largely by Ben Roethlisberger. In 2019, the offense was completely hamstrung due to injuries. In other words, we really can’t say what the Randy Fichtner offense is supposed to look like, so we can’t just assume that anything ‘new’ is from Canada. No doubt some will have a tendency to assume anything that works is Canada’s and anything that doesn’t is Fichtner’s.
Beyond that, he is a coach who is new to the staff and new to the NFL. He is still learning the ropes. He even spent a year out of football last year. He’s not suddenly just swooping in and saving the Steelers and transforming their offense into Super Bowl contenders. And he’s not tending a 17-year quarterback to his will as a position coach.