The Pittsburgh Steelers were one of the few teams in the NFL who did not employ a quarterbacks coach in 2019. This used to be Randy Fichtner’s job prior to being promoted to offensive coordinator before 2018, and technically Fichtner did shoulder those duties in 2019 along with coordinating the offense.
Nonetheless, the Steelers decided to bring in a new quarterbacks coach for the 2020 season, and that coach would be none other than Matt Canada. Canada, who spent time coaching the University of Pittsburgh, Maryland, LSU and other schools.
But after the hiring, the question was whether Canada would simply be working with the quarterbacks, or have a chance to put his imprint on the Steelers’ offense. During a virtual pre-draft media session, head coach Mike Tomlin hinted how Canada would be providing more than just the opportunity to work with quarterbacks.
This per Missi Matthews of Steelers.com:
Matt Canada will get a chance to work hand-in-hand with all of our quarterbacks. And not even that, he'll bring some fresh ideas, too. - Coach Tomlin— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) April 20, 2020
Some might overlook this simple quote from Tomlin, but the reality of the situation is him even referring to “fresh ideas” shows the team is going to lean on Canada for more than just developing Mason Rudolph and others.
How could this impact the offense? Canada was considered one of the most prolific, and unique, coordinators in the college game, and nothing illustrates this more than this article from our very own CHISAP.
This from that article:
Enter Matt Canada. Canada’s schemes have been regarded by many in the coaching profession as some of the best in the business. Specifically, Canada has been lauded for his use of pre-snap movement, the jet sweep concept and for finding ways to tailor his offensive schemes to the strengths of his personnel. At Northern Illinois, for example, he built the offense around dual-threat quarterback Chandler Harnish, who passed for over 3,000 yards and ran for over 1,000 in one season under Canada. At Wisconsin, he assembled a power attack behind a huge offensive line and their trio of stud running backs. At NC State, he turned Brissett into a pro prospect and helped then-sophomore Jaylen Samuels have a breakout season. At Pitt, he built a record-setting offense around Peterman and James Conner, who was returning from cancer treatment. Conner flourished, becoming a 1,000 yard rusher.
None of the offenses mentioned above looked alike. At Northern Illinois, Canada favored spread sets and ran the ball with his quarterback. At Wisconsin, it was 22-personnel power football. At NC State, he threw the ball like it was going out of style. And at Pitt it was all of the above. The common thread that bound each of these offenses was Canada’s use of shifts, motions, tempos and read-options, all of which were effective at keeping defenses off balance and at creating advantages of leverage and numbers.
Could Canada be a “Pass Game Coordinator” like Teryl Austin has been focused on the secondary in Keith Butler’s defense? It might just be the perfect fit, and the outside-the-box thinking to help the Steelers’ offense thrive in 2020.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the 2020 NFL Draft this Thursday.