Preparation for the Steelers Week 1 match up against the New York Giants is well underway. After experiencing the first “Tomlin Tuesday” of the 2020 season, Ben Roethlisberger’s press conference followed it up in its typical Wednesday spot.
There were many things going on with the Pittsburgh Steelers which Roethlisberger was asked about, but one was specifically about the schemes of the offense and what new quarterbacks coach Matt Canada has brought to incorporate into the game plan.
Roethlisberger was asked by Mark Kaboly of The Athletic about the advantages of the motions in the offense Matt Canada brings and if he likes incorporating it into the game plan.
“Who said we’re doing to say that, Mark? We’re not giving anything away.” Roethlisberger replied jovially.
To the frustration of many fans, information on their favorite team has been difficult to glean this preseason. After making light of how information is shared around the NFL in 2020, Roethlisberger went on to answer the question.
“I think the biggest thing is it’s definitely different for a player like myself that’s been in NFL for so long because it does have a lot of college feel to it,” Roethlisberger explained. “I know some teams have started to do it in the NFL the last couple of years. So it’s different for me and so it’s taken some getting used to.”
Incorporating wrinkles from the Matt Canada style of offense is something many felt Roethlisberger may not feel comfortable doing right away. In recent years, the Steelers have not been known for running a lot of motion or misdirection compared to where it has been implemented in other places in the NFL. In essence, Roethlisberger somewhat confirmed this as it being something he has not been familiar with. Although the college game has involved much more of these concepts for some time, it has been almost two decades since Roethlisberger’s collegiate career.
So, is Rothlisberger ready to embrace the change? The biggest question isn’t whether Roethlisberger is ready, but if it would be successful for the Steelers? Without any preseason, Roethlisberger asked his teammates about some of these things they are now incorporating in the offense.
“I asked the linemen and our defense kind of what it does for them,” Roethlisberger said. “And it definitely throws a defense into a little bit of a tizzy when you see the motion. You’re not sure who’s getting the ball.”
Being able to disguise what the offense was doing was a large criticism of the 2019 Steelers who had to endure most of their season without Roethlisberger commanding the huddle. Many times, based on the personnel grouping, there was little question as to what play was coming. This could be one of several reasons Matt Canada was brought in and given some ability to help add some new wrinkles to the offense.
There are a couple different approaches a quarterback can take when it comes to executing the offense. One approach is attempting to get the defense to tip their hand. The other is simply doing what you want to do and making the defense adjust to you. Roethlisberger has often been a member of the second camp, but with new wrinkles thrown in, getting the defense to show their intentions is not a bad thing.
“It helps the linemen block sometimes, too,” Roethlisberger continued, “because it helps declare the defenses. This offense will have his fingerprints all over it and you’ll see some stuff on Monday night, I’m pretty sure, with those motions. So hopefully we can just be successful with it.”
It will be interesting to see how much of a change to the Steelers offense there is come Monday night. Whether it is running various motions or simply lining up and doing what they have done best in the past, the most important thing for the Pittsburgh Steelers is to be able to move the football, put points on the board, and leave MetLife Stadium victorious.
With the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers throwing some wrinkles into the offense, make sure you have your popcorn ready.