Ben Roethlisberger got to experience the ‘newness” of a Matt Canada led offense for the first time Saturday against the Detroit Lions. Based on the results, a two-touchdown, perfect passer rating performance, so far, so good. Canada expressed a similar sentiment in speaking to reporters Wednesday and noted his spot in the booth, not down on the field, isn’t much of an obstacle.
“I’m able to talk directly to Ben on the field up until 15 seconds,” Canada said via the team website. “So calling the plays there’s no middleman with that. A lot of guys are obviously doing it in the league. When Ben comes off, [QBs Coach Mike Sullivan’s] right there with him. We’ve got a headset for him If Ben wants to talk to me. If I want to talk to Ben, he puts a headset on. We did that last week. ‘Here’s what we saw, here’s what we’re thinking. What about this?'”
All coach-to-player communication gets shut off when there’s 15 seconds left on the play clock, regardless of whether the coach is on the field or in the booth. Some coaches have really tried to take advantage of that like the Rams’ Sean McVay, who would get the offense out of the huddle as quickly as possible so he could basically talk alongside QB Jared Goff as the defense was lining up.
Finally getting to yesterday's Rams game and this is all I can think about.
O gets set at the line with 22 seconds. Quick motion. Goff stands up, listens for 3-5 seconds, then relays check/audible.
Clear examples on first series. McVay is a genius. https://t.co/zT0B00KuFO
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) November 27, 2017
That might not be happening in Pittsburgh but it’s proof Canada’s presence in the booth won’t impact play-calling or the ability for Roethlisberger to receive information. On the field or upstairs, it all comes through the quarterback’s helmet.
Canada will be the first Steelers’ OC to be full-time in the booth since Ken Whisenhunt did it for the first couple years of Roethlisberger’s career. The rest – Bruce Arians, Todd Haley, and Randy Fichtner – have largely been on the sideline.
But all that matters is the offense works. Last week was just a preseason game but Roethlisberger’s play certainly wasn’t hindered by the inability to look his OC in the eye.
“I think it went very well last week,” Canada said.” Obviously last week it was just what it was. But we feel good about where we’re at with that.”
The next time those two do it comes Week 1 against Buffalo, a road game in a pretty loud stadium, where that relationship and communication will really be tested.