It seems as though those who are hoping for change to come to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense—a group in which I must include myself—is relying upon the influence of new offensive coordinator Matt Canada to be the catalyst for that positive turn in the right direction.
Yet every opportunity he gets to talk about his offense, he drastically downplays how anything about what he is doing is different—even calling it quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s offense, and saying that they’re going to run what he wants to run.
The first-year offensive coordinator spoke to reporters following practice earlier today, and was naturally asked about what new elements he might bring to the table, but he was once again dismissive of the notion, calling what they’re running “the easiest offense in America”, via transcript.
“Huge compliment to Ben, he’s done this a long time and we have made some changes in how we call things in the system”, he said. “Football is football. There’s not that many plays out there. There are some differences in how we’re calling it and Ben’s worked very hard to be comfortable with it. We’re trying to find ways to get guys in certain spots, but it’s going to look very similar to how it’s always looked. We’re going to be the Pittsburgh Steelers”.
Of course, who the Pittsburgh Steelers are has changed a lot over the course of the past 15-plus years, and their offseason plans would seem to indicate that they are, in fact, looking to do something a little different. New offensive line coach Adrian Klemm has been very direct about the fact that he is instilling a more physical, aggressive philosophy into his unit, for example.
And the reality is that last year’s offense, even in the passing game, was different from the norm. While Ben Roethlisberger was already beginning to show shorter passes, his average depth of target plummeted last offseason, and really seemed to be a reflection of simply a lack of ideas and lack of confidence in the alternatives.
Maybe the biggest change to the offensive system this year will simply be to actually have a cohesive and functioning one. Players shouldn’t be talking about abandoning the offense and ‘drawing up plays in the dirt’, even if such a description isn’t wholly accurate.
Of course, the goal of every offense should be to be as simple as possible while still functioning. Complexity doesn’t mean efficiency, but if you do a few things, and you do them at a high level, with enough variation, then you’ve got something.