Updated: May 4, 2021
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
As of late, Ben Roethlisberger has not run play-action as often as he used to. Maybe it's because the run game has ranked among the worst in the league in the last three years. However, many think Roethlisberger just prefers operating out of the shotgun and not turning his back to the defense.
According to Michael Lombardi of The Athletic, Roethlisberger last season was in the shotgun on 573 of his 608 passes. The Steelers also ran a lot of empty sets with four wide receivers on the field in 2020 and Roethlisberger attempted only 34 passes with two receivers on the field last season, according to Lombardi.
"(Roethlisberger) hates playing under center, never wanting to turn his back to the defense, thus eliminating the play-action passes that might help the Steelers’ offense make chunk plays down the field," Lombardi wrote.
In Matt Canada's offense, Roethlisberger needs to go under center more and run more play-action. I just can't see Canada's offense fully working without Roethlisberger committing to what he likes to do. There's also a case where Roethlisberger just continues to do what he likes to do, and in all reality, it's his offense and not Canada's.
Canada would implement his pre-snap motions, shifts and jet sweeps with a Roethlisberger type of offense, but it wouldn't work to its full ability without Roethlisberger getting under center and running more play-action. Canada also likes to run bootlegs in his offense and with Roethlisberger turning 39 on Tuesday and not as mobile as he once was don't expect to see him running any bootlegs under Canada.
It should be interesting to see how much Roethlisberger adapts to what Canada likes to do. It could also be vice versa where it's how much will Canada adapt to what the 18th year quarterback likes to do. Regardless, Roethlisberger being in the shotgun 573 of his 608 passes last season is just way too predictable and that needs to change under Canada, along with fixing the run game and running more play-action. We've seen Tom Brady, who's 43 excel at going under center and running play-action. Why can't Roethlisberger do the same at 39?