As far as non-player personnel news is concerned, there wasn’t a bigger development this offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers, at least from the fans’ perspective, than the hiring of Matt Canada as quarterbacks coach, whom many are anticipating to have a much larger role within the team than his official title would imply.
That’s not entirely without merit, as it has been hinted at a number of times. Players have mentioned some things that he brings to the table that they have been incorporating into their offense, most prominently the use of more pre-snap motions. It has been mentioned by coaches as well.
Head coach Mike Tomlin tapped the brakes on that particular locomotive at this juncture, however, earlier today during his pre-game press conference when he was asked about what kind of impact the first-year position coach has had thus far and will going forward.
“I think that’s going to be determined as he finds his footing as an assistant, and the first week is probably not a good opportunity for that”, he told reporters, also noting that “the same can be said for Ike Hilliard at wide receiver”.
“We don’t care where good ideas come from in terms of the formulization of plans and developing our personality, but the new guys particularly as a positional coach standpoint, they have some challenges that pertain particularly to the job that they were hired to do, and that’s the readiness of the people that they coach”, he continued.
“That’s probably appropriate as we leave the station. As we they get a rhythm of how we function as a team, we’re open to input from those guys and perspective from those guys, and I’m sure it’ll increase as we get into this journey”.
While Hilliard is a fairly seasoned wide receivers coach at the NFL level, Canada is new to the professional football stage, but has an extensive background not only as a quarterbacks coach but also as an offensive coordinator at the college level, and is generally regarded as a creative football mind.
It’s likely that he will have some type of imprint on what the Steelers will try to do this season, but much of it may not be readily perceptible, and will unfold only over the course of the season, and as Tomlin hinted, he’s got bigger fish to fry.
Not only does he have a starter returning from an unprecedented injury, he has three young quarterbacks to deal with, one of whom was just thrown into his lap days ago when they were able to reclaim Joshua Dobbs off waivers.
That’s still better than Randy Fichtner trying to juggle Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges, and Paxton Lynch last year while also being in his second season as offensive coordinator with no Ben Roethlisberger and a bunch of injured skill position players, but it’s not the most welcome introduction to the NFL, either.