If the whole offensive coordinator thing doesn’t work out, Matt Canada has a bright future as a stand-up comedian. Because the dude’s got jokes. In his regular Thursday press conference, he talked about QB mobility in his offense and went ahead to call Ben Roethlisberger a mobile QB.
“I think we can function with whatever we’ve got,” he told reporters via a team transcript. “Ben rolled out twice. We hit one in the flat and almost hit the other one, so I think we can do whatever with whoever we’ve got. Ben’s mobile.”
“Ben’s mobile.” I’m re-reading those words over and over to make sure they actually appeared on paper. Roethlisberger is just about the least mobile QB in football, 39 years old with knees of someone twice his age. He can do just enough in this offense, and Canada is of course right that Roethlisberger booted out a couple times against the Chargers. But mobile? Maybe Canada needs a definition of the word.
To the overall and more important point, it’s accurate to say Canada’s offense can function with mobile and non-mobile quarterbacks. That was the conclusion of a study we did this summer, examining the mobility of all the throwers he had in college. The average 40 time of his QBs was just 4.84, and they averaged just 250 yards rushing per season.
“What this data shows is Canada doesn’t need a mobile QB. He’s coached and won with scramblers, he’s coached and won with pocket passers. Obviously, there is a clear benefit to a more mobile quarterback and in this day and age, most QBs need some level of functional mobility, extending the play, taking off when it’s necessary, but there’s no evidence it’s high on his list.”
In college, he worked with athletic quarterbacks like Northern Illinois’ Chandler Harnish while working with pocket passers like Wisconsin’s Joel Stave and Pitt’s Nathan Peterman. He’s worked with all types, and though there’s no arguing a more mobile quarterback would open up Canada’s offense, it doesn’t seem to be a requirement.
Still, Roethlisberger? He doesn’t move like he used to. Mason Rudolph looks like Carl Lewis next to Roethlisberger. You can’t faceplant on a shovel option and earn the right to be called “mobile.” If Roethlisberger is mobile, then who is immobile? A house plant?
But Canada is building a solid tight-five for his next trip to the improv.