While pessimistic Pittsburgh Steelers fans continue to be beside themselves over the news that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be returning in 2021 for his 18th season, insisting that ‘more of the same’ won’t get them any closer to a Super Bowl, new offensive coordinator Matt Canada is combing through the team’s offense from the ground up in preparation for better things to come.
“We are going through and looking at the foundation of our offense, and building an offense that will be conducive to whatever talent that we have”, he said in a video program produced by the team through their website, recently published.
“Our job as coaches is, every year is very different, which is one of the many reasons I love being a coach. I love that part of the game”, he added. “Finding ways to utilize players, getting the most out of their talents. I don’t believe you have a certain system that works and this is all that we’re gonna do and we have to have the players for that. We have the players that we have each year. Our job is to score more points than the other team each Sunday, and however we do that, we’re gonna find a way to do that, and that’s our charge”.
While head coach Mike Tomlin often likes to say that he caters his system to his players, I think it’s fair to question whether or not his offensive coordinators of late have been particularly successful at doing that. Canada comes in with a reputation of having been a versatile system-builder at the college level, having started over at numerous programs with success.
First hired in 2020 to serve as the team’s quarterbacks coach, he was promoted after just one year when Tomlin and the Steelers elected not to renew the contract of Randy Fichtner, how had been offensive coordinator for the past three seasons after himself being an internal promotion.
Many speculated, or at least wondered, at the time of Canada’s hiring if he might not be being groomed for such a move, and I think it is certainly not a shock to have seen it happen. Arguably, this is the single largest shift that Tomlin has ever made on his coaching staff throughout his tenure.
Of course, the proof will be in the pudding. If Canada is really committed to getting the most out of what he has, and that includes using Roethlisberger in ways that accentuate his assets—and his likes—while minimizing his weakness—and dislikes—then that will show up on the field. What kind of offensive line they can put up in front of him has to be a relevant factor as well.