‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is a common enough expression, and one that has an intuitive logic to it. Even if something may not be perfect, it is usually best not to tamper with it as long as it is working well enough for your purposes, rather than introducing variables that could end up just making things worse.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had an if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it offense for the better part of the past two decades under quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Of course, it has evolved and morphed over time, but that’s generally come in increments, with the firing of Bruce Arians and the hiring of Todd Haley in 2012 being the most notable departure.
Roethlisberger was resistant to that change. He has been much more prepared to embrace the change of going from Randy Fichtner to Matt Canada, at least publicly. Whatever his true feelings, he has been saying the right things in public, and on Thursday, expressed a sort of rejuvenating in delving into something different so late in his career, citing “the challenge of newness”.
“I spend a lot of time at home going over it, reading it, watching film. I was telling my wife the other night that maybe it’s even better that there’s some new stuff because it almost refocuses you in a way if that makes sense”, he said.
“I mean, if this was still the same stuff, I’d probably go home and be like, ‘okay, I’ll watch the film and be ready to move on’”, he added. “But last night, I watched the film and then I went back over everything again to refresh in my mind, so I just think because it’s different, I want to make sure I’m not the reason that we struggle”.
Canada is in his first season as offensive coordinator in the NFL, originally hired by the team last season as quarterbacks coach following a long coaching career in college. They incorporated some of his concepts into the offense this year, but are now running his system—or at least insofar as it fits the Steelers.
Roethlisberger acknowledged that it still remains a work in progress, though, no matter how much work he puts in, just to memorize everything from the quarterback perspective, the one position where you truly have to know what everybody else is doing.
“I’ll have it and then I’ll go home and look at it and be like, ‘wait. What is this guy?’”, he said. “On every pass play, for instance, I have to know what five guys are doing. It’s not just one guy or just what I’m doing. So, I have to know who the hot is and what each specific guy is doing. There’ll be times when I know what maybe three of them are doing. ‘what’s this guy doing again?’ So, I just have to try and refresh in my mind”.
That is little more than just a part of the natural learning process, of course. It will take time to fully adapt to a new verbiage and new concepts, especially so late in your career when you’ve largely had quite a lot of consistency up to that point. But it should only lead to a better offense going forward.