(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
A few weeks ago Michael Lombardi of The Athletic wrote an article about Ben Roethlisberger and his future with the Steelers. In the article, Lombardi brought up an interesting stat that last season Roethlisberger was in the shotgun on 573 of his 608 passes.
"(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 said
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 being committed to what he likes to do. There's also a case where Roethlisberger just continues to do what he likes to do, and Canada will adapt to it. Roethlisberger is heading into his 18th season and it's Canada's first year as an offensive coordinator in the NFL and second-year overall coaching in the pros. So, it should be interesting to see how it plays out.
Former Steelers cornerback and Hall of Famer Rod Woodson was on 93.7 The Fan on Monday and was asked whether the Steelers should run more play-action with Roethlisberger in 2021.
"When you run play-action, you got to really do it more from under center," Woodson said. "In shotgun, it's really RPOs and zone reads. It's really hard to do a true play-action out of that, so he's going to be under center. Is he comfortable being under center? I think there is an opportunity for that because it does slow the linebackers down and it does give a bigger gap in between the linebackers and the backend secondary to throw into a bigger window. So, it could make his job easier, but at the end of the day, I never played quarterback in the National Football League. I defended against those guys."
Woodson also brought up an interesting alternative for the Steelers to incorporate more of the pistol and kind of meet in the middle to make Roethlisberger comfortable if he doesn't want to go under center.
"And if he's comfortable staying in shotgun, then maybe you put the running back in the pistol," Woodson said. "You know what I'm saying? You still get play-action in a sense, but now instead of having him to the left or the right, either a far back or a near back, put him in the pistol and you still can run play-action. So, maybe that's a way to compromise with Ben moving forward. Especially, I think you got to have a running game like I've been saying since I got on. And if they can find that running game and they bring that comfort level to Ben to keep him in the shotgun, but put that running back in the pistol position, I think it's a win-win."