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Can Ben Roethlisberger truly grasp Matt Canada’s system?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are gearing up for mandatory minicamp, and a big question mark for the week will be Ben Roethlisberger’s progression through Matt Canada’s system.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are gearing up for mandatory minicamp Tuesday, and there are a lot of storylines to follow throughout the three day process. One of the biggest storylines will be Ben Roethlisberger.

Trust me, there are many facets of Ben Roethlisberger’s game which can be something to watch this week, and beyond. But the one most are talking about would be the fact Roethlisberger is about to learn an offense which is truly different than any other offense he has run since he was drafted in 2004.

When given the opportunity to list the top storyline for the Steelers heading into minicamp, ESPN’s Brooke Pryor listed Roethlisberger’s learning curve as paramount for the Steelers this week.

How is Ben Roethlisberger adapting to Matt Canada’s offense? The Steelers have been slowly installing Canada’s scheme during OTAs, and minicamp with the full Steelers offense will be another measuring stick for the quarterback and his comfort in the new concepts. He admitted to the challenge of learning a new offense after 17 seasons in a similar system, and JuJu Smith-Schuster said he has noticed the quarterback’s buy-in through the volume of questions he’s asking.

Speaking of Smith-Schuster’s comments, here is what he had to say about Roethlisberger learning Canada’s system, and how it can point to the future Hall of Fame quarterback completely buying in.

“(Ben) is always asking questions 24/7,” Smith-Schuster told the media. “He is always asking questions, a guy who has been in the league for 18 years. Me, I have been at it for four years. But for him, to have to learn a whole new offense. I know I have a lot of questions, but he is asking a lot of questions too, even as an adult.”

As for Roethlisberger himself, he was asked about the adjustments which will be needed for him to fully learn and adapt to Matt Canada’s offense. Here is what he said:

“It’s new. There is a lot of new,” said Roethlisberger. “It’s taking some extra studying, but it’s a fun new challenge. Guys are getting it and hopefully it translates into winning football.

“When you have had the same offense, or a similar offense for 17 years and all of a sudden something looks the same, but it’s called something different, it’s very different and a big challenge. That is the game of football, learning new things, new challenges. Coach Canada’s offense is one that hopefully will be a good one. We need to execute the plays that he calls. Hopefully we will be better on offense than last year.

“We’ll throw a lot of different looks and schemes at people and see what works.”

Roethlisberger does have some experience with Canada’s offense. It was in the early portions of the 2020 season when the Steelers were doing a lot of pre-snap motion and shifts, but then it just stopped. No one knows why it ceased to exist in the Steelers’ offensive playbook anymore, but 2021 shouldn’t be a complete shock to Roethlisberger.

In the meantime, the Steelers will continue to build the foundation, and the cornerstone of the offense will remain Roethlisberger until he decides to call it a career.

Keep an eye on all things Pittsburgh Steelers this week, and throughout the offseason, as the team prepares for the 2021 regular season.