One of the greatest curiosities for the 2021 season for the Pittsburgh Steelers is how the offense will look with Ben Roethlisberger under center as new offensive coordinator Matt Canada begins to put his stamp on things. Some wonder if the two aren’t too far apart to be able to work together effectively. Others simply think Canada will have to give in.
One area in which Canada doesn’t expect to compromise is on the use of no-huddle offenses and changing the tempo over the course of the game. In fact, he told reporters earlier today that he believes this is a strength of his quarterback’s.
“We’re certainly going to continue to use tempo, and use the thing that Ben is very, very good at”, he said, “to help our offense be the most productive that it could possibly be, and the changing of tempo in the course of a game, I think is very important, and I think Ben’s really, really good at it”.
We do know that Roethlisberger is a fan of using the no-huddle offense, though that doesn’t necessary equate to an up-tempo, hurry-up style of play. Rather, his preference has been to get up to the line and let the defense reveal itself before setting up the play, often calling for the snap within seconds of the play clock expiring.
I expect that we will see more variety in true tempo this year from Canada, and that we’ll get more no-huddle looks out of a designed offense, rather than just settling on it being Roethlisberger’s time to steer the ship, as it seemingly has been.
“I’m a big believer in tempo and the changing of the tempo”, the team’s new offensive coordinator made clear. “I think if you always go fast, people get used to that. If you always walk out of the huddle, people get used to that. Defensive coaches are really, really smart. They work on film study and tendencies and all those things”.
There doesn’t seem to be any compelling reason to believe this aspect of Canada’s offense would be problematic for Roethlisberger. It’s not as though he’s doing a lot of scrambles or roll-outs that would make him reluctant to run a play with time left on the play clock.
At the end of the day, anything you can do to make the defense less sure of what you’re doing and when you’re doing it is to your advantage. Not enough teams, in my opinion, make effective use of the varying of tempos to their advantage, so for me at least, it would be a welcome sight in the Steelers’ toolkit.