While the offensive line in Pittsburgh appears to be in a state of flux following the surprising release of David DeCastro on Thursday, and the unanswered questions of depth at outside linebacker and safety seem to continue to dominate the headlines ahead of training camp, Bleacher Report said there’s one key question that needs answered ahead of training camp for the Steelers this season.
Will there be a struggle between Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Canada?
At this point in the Roethlisberger-Canada marriage, it’s pretty clear that there are differences in terms of what Roethlisberger historically likes to do, and what Canada’s offenses typically look like.
Last season, the Steelers became far too predictable under Randy Fichtner, leading to changes. Now in steps Canada, who likes to have his quarterbacks under center and lean heavily on pre-snap motion and play-action — two things Roethlisberger isn’t too fond of at this point in his career.
In fact, one Pro Football Focus writer opined that “there might not be a more dissimilar quarterback-offensive coordinator pairing in NFL history” regarding the Roethlisberger-Canada pairing.
Now, Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon is questioning whether there will be a power struggle between the two, and if there could be a public clash as early as training camp between the 39-year-old future first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback and the first-year coordinator.
“It’s easy to understand why Big Ben might be stubborn about how things are done this deep into his career, but the Steelers used a first-round draft pick on running back Najee Harris in April, and at the college level, Canada employed plenty of pre-snap movement and had his quarterbacks under center frequently,” Gagnon writes. “Despite what Canada says, there’s a decent chance we’ll see a clash at some point. Possibly even in camp.”
So far, there doesn’t appear to be any animosity or overall issues with the direction of the offense. Now, that might not mean much considering it’s just football in shorts at the moment and not much is being installed, but Canada has already said on the record, “We are going to what Ben wants to do and how Ben wants to do it.”
Canada’s comments certainly do not mean Roethlisberger is the one calling the shots and dictating how the offense will look. Canada is simply stating that he will work with what Roethlisberger is most comfortable with in the new offensive scheme, at least early in the season. That shouldn’t be a red flag to anyone, as any successful coach in history wants to put his guys in the best position possible to succeed.
It seems that far too many outside media members circling at 30,000 feet are waiting for this marriage to blow up in spectacular fashion simply based on the historical preferences of the two. I’m betting we don’t see a blowup of any sort in training camp, let alone the season.