With Matt Canada now installed as the new offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021 the expectations are that we will see a lot of pre snap shift and motions this season as his offenses in college had a lengthy history of such. If done right, hopefully it will result in not only the Steelers running game showing drastic improvement in 2021, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being able to push the football down the field more regularly and easily as well.
So, just how hard will it be for opposing defenses to adjust to Canada’s anticipated heavy pre snap movement offense in 2021? Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick took a stab at answering that question at the conclusion of the team’s Monday training camp practice.
“Yeah. I mean, he [Canada] does it for a reason,” Fitzpatrick said. “He does it to, you know, keep people on their toes. He gets people to over-communicate or have a lack of communication.”
Fitzpatrick also said on Monday that he thinks the Steelers 2021 defense will also be a beneficiary of going against Canada’s heavy-movement offense in practices this summer as well.
“But I think we, as a defense, we adjust to it pretty well because when we see it every day and you know, a lot of teams try to do that to us because we run a simple defense,” Fitzpatrick said. “You know what I’m saying? So, they try to move people around to make us talk and try to confuse us.”
Fitzpatrick certainly makes great point when it comes to the Steelers defense having to face Canada’s heavy pre snap movement offense quite extensively in practice and hopefully the unit doing so will better prepare them for some similar offenses they’ll face during the 2021 season. Teams such as the Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Las Vegas Raiders, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs all were in the top half of the league in pre snap motion usage in 2020 and the Steelers will face all five of those teams in 2021.
As for the Steelers offense in 2021, one of the more challenging aspects of Canada hoping to use a lot pre snap movement in his first season as the team’s offensive coordinator revolves around a near complete offseason retooling of the offensive line. On top of that, that expected retooled starting offensive line unit has yet to work together hardly any so far during training camp.
Moving forward, the Steelers first preseason game of 2021 will take place Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys so it will be interesting to see if Canada ultimately decides to use a lot of motion and shifts in that contest.
In the meantime, however, Fitzpatrick seems to think some opposing defenses, unlike his own, might be challenged quite a bit in 2021 when it comes to facing what Canada has in store for them this season.
“So, I think we do a good job of going against it, but you know teams that have a more complex defense and when one person moves, it could definitely confuse them,” Fitzpatrick said.