If the Pittsburgh Steelers want to have success in 2021 offensively after changing coordinators and some personnel, future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will need to be put at-risk more often than 2020, according to Pittsburgh radio personality Mark Madden.
Madden, writing in his weekly column Wednesday, stated that the offense must be turned over to new offensive coordinator Matt Canada 100% moving forward, which will put Roethlisberger at risk. That, Madden writes, is necessary to win with a roster filled with holes offensively.
“Canada’s offense puts Roethlisberger at more risk,” Madden said. “The offensive line isn’t good. It’s easy to think four of its starters will be average or worse. But that risk is necessary.
“If the goal is for Roethlisberger to never get hurt, fine. Run the offense just like last year’s. But if the goal is for the offense to get better, not worse, as the season progresses and to avoid a fourth straight late-season collapse, Roethlisberger must be put at more risk for the sake of executing Canada’s vision.”
Saying the offensive line “isn’t good” without even seeing them play a snap is a bit of a hot take. Are they formidable on paper? No. There’s quite a few changes occurring up front with Chukwuma Okorafor sliding over to left tackle, Zach Banner returning from a season-ending injury in Week 1 last season to slot in at right tackle, second-year guard Kevin Dotson taking over at left guard and rookie third-round pick Kendrick Green projecting to be the starting center.
That means right guard David Decastro is the lone starter returning to his spot from last season. Madden doesn’t think that matters much, writing that Decastro is “beat up and washed up.”
It’s hard to really understand how or why Madden envisions Roethlisberger being put at more of a risk in 2021 for the Steelers to succeed under Canada. It’s very clear the Steelers have placed an emphasis on rebuilding the run game, which they’ve done by investing in rookies Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth and Green, and promoting assistant offensive line coach Adrian Klemm to head position coach in hopes of changing the mentality up front.
To put Roethlisberger at more risk in 2021, to me that means Madden wants to see more passing attempts from Roethlisberger behind a line that has a lot of questions in pass protection, which makes absolutely zero sense.
For the Steelers to taste success in 2021 under Canada’s guidance offensively, Pittsburgh needs to be more creative and less predictable both in the run game and through the air. Based off of Canada’s history as an OC in college, that will be the case, which will take pressure off of Roethlisberger to play backyard style football, putting him at less risk, which should be the goal for a 39-year-old quarterback.