Steelers fans should not worry about ‘Big Ben’ in Matt Canada’s scheme
By Eric Hassel
The Steelers will have a new offensive scheme in 2021, but fans should not worry about ‘Big Ben’
So, it’s actually a little amusing to me that some fans, I’m sure, are thinking that because the Steelers have a new offensive coordinator in Matt Canada, who was the QB coach in 2020, there will be sweeping changes that may make Ben Roethlisberger, our franchise and future Hall of Fame QB, feckless or somehow obsolete.
I don’t see it that way. Shortly after Canada was promoted to OC, I wrote an article about what the offense may look like under his tutelage. The long and short of what I stated was this: While change is inevitable anytime a new coordinator enters the picture, the essence of the offensive scheme will probably remain relatively the same.
What absolutely needs to change is the commitment to getting back to the fundamental premise of Steelers football, which is and traditionally has been, an effective running game. Last season, our running game was virtually non-existent. It was no coincidence that we selected Najee Harris in the first round of this year’s draft.
There may be some changes to terminology, there may be some changes to what the offense shows ‘pre-snap’, e.g. there could be and probably will be more pre-snap motion than there was in 2020, and there could be some changes to personnel packages depending on the ‘down and distance’ scenario.
What I stated earlier in the conversation about sweeping changes being made to the offense is true, in my opinion. It would make no sense for the Steelers to ask ‘Big Ben’ at this stage in his career to learn a completely new offensive scheme. Again, will there be minor changes that all players on the offensive side of the ball will have to learn? Of course, that is to be expected.
Steelers fans should not be concerned about the ability of ‘Big Ben’ to run OC Canada’s offense
There has also been a lot made of comments by Canada concerning doing what ‘Big Ben’ wants to do. If you want to listen, this is from the official site of the Steelers. In a nutshell, of course, Canada would say that the Steelers are going to do what ‘Big Ben’ wants to do, as well he should.
Canada is not going to put ‘Big Ben’ in a position to fail, unlike some of the previous offensive coordinators we have had over the decades before the ‘Big Ben’ era where not only were our QB’s trying to learn a new scheme, they were trying to learn a whole new ‘language’, essentially a completely new way to call a play.
Thankfully, I don’t think we will see a return of the days of Joe Walton and Bubby Brister, which were not very enjoyable days for Steelers fans. If you were not around during those years, consider yourself lucky. It was painful to watch at times as it seemed like Brister was too busy calling a play rather than just playing football.
In any event, I really doubt we will have to worry about any of that as Canada and the Steelers want to put not only ‘Big Ben’ in a position to succeed but also the entire team, and, frankly, that should be the approach. We have to maximize the window we still have with ‘Big Ben’.
Look, could there be changes on a level that I am not anticipating? Of course. I have no inside information. I have only my 43 years of watching Steelers football to rely on and I would bet ‘dollars to doughnuts’ that ‘Big Ben’ will be just fine in the Canada scheme.