3 Steelers who are ecstatic about their new offensive coordinator
Anthony McFarland Jr. showed flashes of playmaking ability very sparingly in 2020. Granted, he ran behind an abysmal offensive line, and the consistent use of draws limited what he could show with his skill set, that’s without mentioning the low amount of carries he was given in his first year. He is a fast, twitchy runner that should be used in more lateral concepts. Watching him at Maryland under the new offensive coordinator in Matt Canada showed that with a little space and one cut move he is a home-run hitter.
I don’t think he is going to look like Saquon Barkley or anything like that. Yet, with a younger line that will be pulling and moving a lot better, paired with a lot of motion he is going to look like an entirely different player in 2021. I don’t know if he starts the season as the featured back, but unless the Steelers select a runner in the first or second-round pick in this draft he is going to win the starting job by the time 2021 is over. Canada knows exactly what he has in McFarland and he made him a star in Maryland.
The two constantly praised each other, and they couldn’t have been happier about finding the same home in the NFL entering 2020. I’m not saying Canada is about playing favorites, yet this kid was a star running back in his offense in college. In his first offseason as Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator, he is going to be consistently asked about fixing the run game. For Canada, the option that makes the most sense is to continue utilizing a player you know will excel in your system, as he did just 2 years ago.
We shouldn’t forget that Canada was also the offensive coordinator at NC state for much of the time that Jaylen Samuels was playing there. I would not be surprised if we see more of Samuels on a lot of passing downs as he played well during Canada’s tenure there. Although I don’t think he will be used in more than a rotational role, we could see Samuels come back in much better form than he was in during the 2020 season.