Steelers’ Offense Has Changed Post-Roethlisberger, Rudolph Says

Ben Roethlisberger

There’s no question last year’s fit between QB Ben Roethlisberger and new OC Matt Canada was an awkward one. What Roethlisberger was good at and what Canada wanted to ideally do were certainly at odds. Square peg, round hole, and it reflected in the Steelers’ offensive output, a painful process to put points on the board, especially in the first half.

Though Roethlisberger’s retirement leaves a void in so many ways, whoever the Steelers replace him with should fit Canada’s mold better. After all, Canada helped pick two of the top three quarterbacks in the Steelers’ room, veteran Mitch Trubisky and rookie Kenny Pickett.

Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Mason Rudolph hinted more changes are coming to a Canada-coached offense in 2022.

“There’s some things with the offense that have changed post-Ben,” he said via the team website. “We’re trying to just get up to speed and see what we like, see what concepts we prefer over others.”

Rudolph didn’t specify what those changes are. It’s natural for any first-time NFL playcaller to make changes in his first offseason, but his ability to maximize his playbook expands under a more mobile quarterback. In year two, the team is expected to work more under center, use more play action and bootlegs, and perhaps take more downfield shots to the middle of the field.

Trubisky is capable of running that kind of offense and Pickett ran a very similar one at Pitt, full of pre-snap motions, throws on the run, and play action. Rudolph fits the mold to a lesser degree but brings more mobility than Ben Roethlisberger did. One upside here is Canada, unlike Mike Tomlin and company, didn’t work with Roethlisberger for long, just one season as QBs Coach and another as the team’s OC. It’s easier to wipe the slate clean and start anew with a different face under center.

Without Roethlisberger, the Steelers have to fil the gap of his leadership, presence, ability to command and run the offense, especially in no huddle/late-game situations. None of that will be solved overnight. But the upside here is a more cohesive relationship and fit between quarterback and coordinator. That’s central to any healthy offense.

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