(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Matt Canada spoke with reporters this week at minicamp and made it clear that his offense will go through Ben Roethlisberger, who is heading into his 18th season with the Steelers.
“We’re going to do what Ben wants to do and how Ben wants to do it," Canada said via Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com. Our job is putting every player in position to make plays. There are changes with terminology, how we're calling things, which has been an adjustment for Ben. He has adapted easily, just like we all knew that he would."
Roethlisberger said a few weeks ago that he has no issue going under center more and Canada believes that strengthening the run game will help tremendously when it comes to play-action.
“Ben can do everything really well. I don’t have any concern about Ben doing anything that we want to do," Canada said. "If you're gonna run the football, I think play-action is very important. Mr. Rooney (Steelers president Art II) has sent out a very clear directive to Mr. Colbert (General Manager Kevin), to Coach Tomlin (head coach Mike) and then to me, we want to be able to run the ball when we have to run it. That doesn't mean we're gonna run the ball for X-amount of yards in a game. All that matters here is winning. Our charge is to win the Super Bowl, and that's it."
It will be interesting to see how the dynamics work out with Canada's offense and how much will change from last year in regards to what Roethlisberger prefers to do, which is to be in the shotgun.
Seth Galina of Pro Football Focus recently wrote just how different and unusual the pairing of Roethlisberger and Canada are.
"Last year, the Steelers played in shotgun at the fourth-highest rate in the league. Canada’s last college offense, the 2018 Maryland Terrapins, did it at the 117th-ranked rate in the country," Galina wrote. "The Steelers used pre-snap motion at the 23rd-highest rate in the league, while the Terrapins used it at the second-highest rate in college football.
"Roethlisberger wanted to sit in shotgun, catch the snap, stand there and get rid of the ball as fast as possible. That’s never been Canada’s style of play, but Roethlisberger is the veteran, so he may have enough influence to sway the Canada offense in a different direction. There might not be a more dissimilar quarterback-offensive coordinator pairing in NFL history."
It will have to be a collaborative effort with Roethlisberger and Canada this season. I'm assuming they're going to meet in the middle on their preferred schematics. Roethlisberger said all the right things when he spoke with the media a few weeks ago, but I wonder how long that will carry out during the season.