Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, I’m sure, was not thrilled when the team decided to let Randy Fichtner go. Serving the previous three seasons as offensive coordinator, Fichtner was Roethlisberger’s quarterbacks coach for most of his career and had also become a close friend.
But they didn’t throw him just anybody as replacement. They promoted Matt Canada from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator, and while they only had one year together, all accounts indicate that there were no issues in either their professional or personal relationship.
With the offense getting off to something of a slow start, and perhaps spurred on by the manner in which he has answered some questions, he was asked about Canada and how they have been working together, and the offense in general.
“You let the coordinator call the plays. And we need to execute the plays that he calls because we had a good plan, we just didn’t execute well enough”, he told reporters when facing the media on Wednesday, agreeing that they are on the same page. “Yeah, for sure. I think he’s done a great job. Coaches call plays, players need to execute it. We need to execute better”.
Roethlisberger has had a few offensive coordinator changes over the course of his career, but most of them have been mundane internal hires that retained the same offense with the same verbiage. The major exception was Todd Haley being brought in in 2012, with whom there were always rumors of friction.
“I don’t like to compare guys just like I won’t compare players that we’ve had that are different. That’s not fair to anybody”, he said when asked how Canada compares to his prior coordinators. “I enjoy working with Matt. He works really hard. He’s very passionate. He has a fire for this game and wanting to win. When you add those things up, it makes for a good coach and someone you want to play for”.
Those are some pretty strong statements. He’s gone a great job. He’s someone you want to play for. You can’t ask much more than that from your quarterback about your offensive coordinator, at least when it comes to how they get along.
But it’s really about how the offense is getting along, of course. How your quarterback feels about your offensive coordinator or vice versa doesn’t particularly matter beyond whatever role it might play in their on-field relationship. If they get along but do not produce, it doesn’t matter. If they produce but don’t get along, you live with it.