It is now abundantly clear after quotes yesterday that Matt Canada is taking the wrong approach with Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers new offensive coordinator was quoted as saying “We are going to do what Ben Roethlisberger wants to do, and how Ben Roethlisberger wants to do it.” https://triblive.com/sports/steelers-oc-matt-canada-were-going-to-do-what-ben-wants-to-do
This quote alone should send out warning bells to any, and all Steelers fans. Coddling Ben Roethlisberger is not the type of strategy that will bring the best out of Pittsburgh’s quarterback. If this is the path Canada has chosen, it could be a very long season for this team.
The Randy Fichtner conundrum:
Hiring Randy Fichtner as Ben Roethlisberger’s hand picked coordinator was a terrible idea from the start. Mike Tomlin chose the wrong coordinator Fichtner was hired solely to appease Roethlisberger after his rocky relationship with Todd Haley. It was only a matter of time before Roethlisberger took full control of the offense. That lead to what we witnessed at the end of last season. The offense was far too predictable with Roethlisberger calling most of it from shotgun.
The Matt Canada problem:
The Matt Canada system is largely based on pre-snap motion and play action. Two things we know Ben Roethlisberger despises. The team started out the 2020 season with a good deal of that same pre-snap motion, to some success. As the season wore on however, we saw less and less of it. This was a clear sign Big Ben was not a fan of the new offensive wrinkle. And of course as far as play action was concerned, it was nearly nonexistent in the Steelers offense. They ranked dead last in the NFL in play action pass attempts in 2020, largely due to Roethlisberger’s disdain for the concept. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2020/advanced.htm
So how exactly does this work? How does Matt Canada let Roethlisberger do whatever he wants, when that flies directly in the face of everything his offense is based on? The short answer is it doesn’t. This franchise will be headed for a long and difficult season as these two try to find some common ground. Matt Canada is taking the wrong approach with his veteran quarterback if he wants to get anything accomplished in his first season.
Canada has missed his chance to assert himself as the leader of this offense. After that infamous quote, there will be no reigning in of Ben Roethlisberger. He is now clear on the fact that yet another offensive coordinator will bow to his every wish. Our prediction is 2021 will go a lot like the previous season. The Steelers will start out looking like a whole new offense, only to slowly regress back to the same old things. The Matt Canada hire promised change for the Steelers offense. That may not be the case at all in 2021.