Even though he’s not a brand new hire the way that Todd Haley was nearly a decade ago, the promotion of Matt Canada to offensive coordinator may represent an even bigger departure for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense. That’s not to say that they are suddenly going to be completely different, but the changes may be more pronounced, even if subtle.
Wide receiver James Washington believes it will benefit the unit, without drastically changing what they do. “I don’t really think it affects us too much”, he said of Canada’s installation following practice today, particularly with regard to routes. “I actually think it gives us more options, to be in different positions, and get different matchups, mix and match stuff a little bit”.
“The formations are a little different”, he conceded, “but like I said, I think it’ll help us, just because it’ll help us line up in different positions, and move people around pre-snap and get the matchups that we want against certain guys”.
Pre-snap motion has been the most-widely discussed subject when it comes to Canada, something that we already saw them incorporate last year when he was first hired as quarterbacks coach, though seemingly without great effect, as more of an add-on than a feature. A full installation with motion as a core tenet should strengthen its effect.
“It’s a little different formation-wise, just because we’re not used to some of the terminology right now”, Washington said of learning the changes, “but throughout OTAs and everything, we’re learning. As far as the meetings, coaches have been great with relaying stuff to us, getting information we need to help us get lined up”.
Of course, when players learn new things, like a new offensive system, so do the assistant coaches, so people like wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard have to be flexible as well. He has to not only learn Canada’s system inside and out, but to be able to translate that to his players, as well as communicate how that differs from their previous system.
From the sounds of it, though, things are going pretty smoothly. There’s no “Rosetta Stone” needed this year, at least. Maybe just a quick peak at Duolingo. There’s still plenty of time to prepare for the regular season, and, again, some of this won’t be totally new to them, as they worked in facets of Canada’s plans last year.