2021 Offseason Questions: How Will Roethlisberger, Canada Work Together?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.

Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.

The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?

These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.

Question: How will Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Canada work together?

Although I don’t really anticipate there being any issues, the fact of the matter is that this is seeming to be shaping up as one of the questions that define the Steelers’ season, at least from the outside. You have outlets pointing out the seeming disparity in desires between quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Canada based on what they would like to run.

But the reality is that Canada is an experienced coordinator who has worked in many different offenses throughout his college career, and while he had had some tendencies creep up in every spot, one thing he will have certainly learned is the importance of adapting to your talent.

The most important thing for a coordinator to do is to put his pieces in place to make good things happen. It’s not about your system; it’s about the system that achieves the desired results with the weapons that are at your disposal.

It is perhaps true that Canada may not be able to do everything that he would theoretically like to do, or as often, while he has Roethlisberger as his starting quarterback. But every working relationship is ultimately a compromise.

The real question is whether or not any meaningful issues will arise over the course of the season in the working relationship of the pair, and how it will translate on the field. Can Canada get the most out of Roethlisberger? Can Roethlisberger give Canada what he asks of him? These are more important questions than whether or not their preferences seamlessly match.

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