What will the Steelers offense look like under Matt Canada?
By Eric Hassel
With the rampant speculation that the Steelers will promote Matt Canada, our current QB coach, to the recently vacated Offensive Coordinator position, my initial thought was this: What will the offense look like if Canada is, in fact, promoted?
If it does come to fruition that Canada will ascend to the Offensive Coordinator role, you have to wonder what that would mean for Ben Roethlisberger, our future Hall of Fame QB, if he decided to play this season. Admittedly, I neither know anything about Canada nor do I know anything about his offensive philosophy.
Reading through Canada’s biography, he served as the interim Head Coach at the University of Maryland in 2018. While reviewing his tenure as the aforementioned interim HC, here’s what I saw: A lot of pre-snap motion on nearly every play, very few if any snaps under center and a lot of ‘inside zone’ running plays.
Honestly, it’s anyone’s guess as to what type of offense the Steelers will deploy in 2021. Suffice to say, Canada will have to rejuvenate the running game, which was dead last in the NFL in 2020. In my opinion, that last-place finish, if you will, factored heavily in the decision to move on from Randy Fichtner.
So what identity will the Steelers offense embrace in 2021?
Make no mistake, pre-snap motion, very few snaps under center and ‘inside zone’ runs are all ‘fine and dandy’ for a college offense but maybe not so fine for an NFL offense. I think it’s fair to say that the Steelers offense in 2021 will be much more ‘run-heavy’ than it was in 2020.
The simple fact of that matter is this: If ‘Big Ben” returns next season, which I sincerely hope he does, an effective running game can only help, not hurt, our chances of not only repeating as AFC North Division Champs but going further in the playoffs than we did in 2020.
It should be interesting to see what the Steelers offense will look like in 2021. No matter what the offense looks like, it had better ‘be’ right. What I mean by that is the offensive scheme has to take the pressure of ‘Big Ben’ and has to return to being a balanced offense, otherwise we may find ourselves with another early exit from the playoffs.
Look, I don’t know how much latitude Canada will have, but suffice to say that with a future Hall of Fame QB at the helm, it should be pretty easy to devise a game plan that would enable the Steelers to continue the success we enjoyed in 2020.