The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t move on from former offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, and replace him with Matt Canada, just for the sake of making a change. They knew that a change had to be made. The move to Canada was the move that they wanted to make.
And we can expect them to give it time to settle in, even if it takes a couple of years. But as in every season, the focus is on the now, and in that case, it’s about the installation of Canada’s offense and how it corresponds to the man running it on the field, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“We’ve had a good installation plan”, the new man calling the plays told reporters yesterday. “Obviously, we’ve got to know where we’re going and what we’re doing, so we’re taking it at whatever pace we could handle and put in as much as we could by day and by week”.
One point that has been stressed recently has been about managing expectations. It’s almost as though they’ve been working to demythologize the ‘Canada offense’ and what that’s going to mean. I would imagine many weren’t happy when he said yesterday that they were going to run what Roethlisberger liked to run, but in essence, that’s how any good offense works. You build it around your quarterback.
“I think the players have handled it very, very well. They’ve certainly been very receptive to it”, Canada said. “Again, we’re not making drastic changes. Obviously, the terminology and the way ways we want to call things, but football’s football. But the guys have been great, and we feel like we’ve had a very, very great work environment and made a lot of progress”.
Yes, the Steelers will still be playing football in 2021, and it will look like football, too. Maybe the notion of running from under center and utilizing play action and pre-snap motion looks like a different game to Steelers fans, but that’s been common for most other teams around the league.
What is interesting about Canada is that he brings insights from far afield. Not only has he worked in numerous stops along the way (albeit at the college level, which, frankly, is sometimes what NFL teams prefer for new hires), he also spent a year out of football in 2018 learning about and studying offenses and adding new ideas to his lexicon.
We’re not going to get the full extent and breadth of his repertoire, but really, given his accumulated knowledge, any offense that tries to piecemeal together everything he’s gathered over time would fall apart on itself anyway.
For the most part, he’s still coaching the same players who were on offense last year. Most of them are still good players capable of being effective. This isn’t about making radical changes. This is about making minor tweaks that serve to bring out the best in what you have.