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Diontae Johnson confirms Matt Canada’s influence on the Steelers offense

In his interview on Wednesday, Diontae Johnson mentioned Matt Canada’s motion schemes being implemented in the Steelers offense.

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Jets Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

In Diontae Johnson’s press conference with the media he was asked about Matt Canada, and if Diontae Johnson thought he would benefit from some of his ideas. His response was the first real confirmation we have had that the Steelers are implementing the kind of plays Matt Canada brought to the college game.

I’m going to do whatever they ask me to do, that’s the main thing. Although it’s new stuff, I’m still actually learning all those new motions and stuff he’s (Canada) brought over to us. I wouldn’t say it’s tough, it’s just something you’ve got to put your mind to it and just want to learn. Like I said I’m going to go out there and do whatever it takes to help.

When asked if it would benefit him in particular he responded:

Yeah, most definitely. It’s going to create ways for me to get open and make plays, so that’s what I’m looking forward to.

Randy Fichtner, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Canada have been non-committal in their recent interviews, with coach Canada stating the usual coach speak:

I’m coming in and learning our system, learning what we’ve done here. That’s my job, to just enhance whatever I can. . . We’re going to focus on what Ben does well, what he’s always done well, and however I can assist that I’ll do it.

Canada also directly downplayed the Steelers using motion in the offense this season:

It’s part of what (I’ve) done in the past, but again, I’m coming in here and I’m focused on learning our system and getting going with what we are doing here.

Until Diontae Johnson’s interview it didn’t seem like there would be much change at all in the offense due to the addition of Canada. But with Johnson letting the cat out of the bag, we now know the Steelers are working more motion into the offense, even if they don’t want to talk about it.

This is something to listen for as the Steelers go through camp, to see what clues we can get about the extent of Canada’s influence, and what players are learning and executing any new wrinkles to the offense. The team seems to have embraced utilizing Matt Canada’s expertise, with even Ben Roethlisberger seeming open to the change. In his interview this week, while discussing how the new coaches and players can help the offense he added this comment:

. . .misdirection stuff, we brought coach Canada in to help with some of that stuff.

Roethlisberger then expressed his excitement for what the offense could accomplish in 2020.

While most of what we have heard coming from the Steelers is the usual information we get, a whole lot of platitudes and team-speak, there are signs that the team is going forward with Matt Canada having an impact on the design of the offense, and are embracing an increased use of pre-snap motion to generate opportunities to make plays.

Now that Diontae Johnson has confirmed that players are learning motions and “stuff” specifically brought to the team by Matt Canada, fans can stop wondering whether Fichtner and Roethlisberger will embrace new ideas, and start thinking about how much influence Canada will have, and what the impact of his schemes will have on the offense.