The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph, a player that they specifically talked about having identified as a first-round talent and a potential successor at the position, in the same year that they promoted quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner to offensive coordinator, while allowing him to retain his old job, as well.
They finally brought in a separate quarterbacks coach last season in Matt Canada, who has now been promoted to offensive coordinator (resulting in their hiring Mike Sullivan to serve as quarterbacks coach). Rudolph talked last week about the transition from Fichtner’s offense to Canada’s.
“I think having the familiarity with Matt, his style, from last year carries over”, he told reporters. “There are some new things, a little bit of a learning curve in the spring, but I think most everyone feels pretty comfortable with his style, his offense, what we have in”.
“Now it’s just about getting better”, he added. “He’s very big on ‘we’re gonna run what the players are good at’, so he’s asked the quarterbacks to give him a menu of plays that you really like, and he does a great job of scripting things that we like to run, so we appreciate that as a quarterback”.
This isn’t the first time that Rudolph has talked about how Canada works a lot with his quarterbacks and tries to have a plan for them. He mentioned it during OTAs when he was emphasizing how he, then as quarterbacks coach, made him go through those mental gymnastics as though he were a starter, in case he has to start.
That continues in their relationship today, as it does with the other quarterbacks. “Every day, we give him feedback, and he likes that. It’s been a good relationship”, he said. It’s probably a good thing to have already done the legwork before you actually need another quarterback to start.
Canada has extensive experience as an offensive coordinator at the college level, but this is only his second year in the NFL, and his first as a coordinator here, so from that perspective, we still know very little about him.
There are a lot of expectations for what he might do, and we’ve heard a lot of players talking about how his focus is to put players in positions to succeed—he says this himself—but it’s really a matter of the proof being in the pudding, and whether or not they even have the ingredients to make something palatable.