Change is inevitable in life, and even more so in the NFL. There is always roster turnover, coaching changes and front office jobs which are changed almost on a yearly basis. But the change also goes far beyond the names on a jersey.
When you consider the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 offseason, it has all be based around a significant amount of change. The retirement of veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and long-time General Manager (GM) Kevin Colbert have the Steelers organization at a crossroads.
With the aforementioned retirements there will be a ripple effect within the organization, and there is a chance that change isn’t a bad thing. The area most would point to for positive change would be on the offensive side of the football. Without Roethlisberger in the mix, as well as several offensive additions in both free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft, Matt Canada finally has the pieces in place to run his offense. Not a Roethlisberger-Canada offense.
Through just one week of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) offensive players are already making comments about the offense is different.
“It’s definitely a different offense,” tight end Pat Freiermuth confirmed to Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com. “With Ben being here for so long, he had his ways that he wanted things. And you had to respect that being the vet he was and the Hall-of-Fame guy he was. We definitely have different ways that we do things now with the offense.
“Different alignments, different concepts, everything like that. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
There has been a lot of criticism of Canada’s offense since he was promoted to offensive coordinator prior to the 2021 season. But if Canada had a crutch to lean on during the offense’s dismal performance last season it would be he didn’t have the players to truly run his scheme. Shockingly, Freiermuth agreed with the criticism, and recognizes how this year’s offense will be what people have always expected from Matt Canada calling the plays.
“I completely agree with the media on that,” Freiermuth said. “It’s gonna be Coach Canada’s offense and he’s gonna do what he came here to do.”
With the new, and different, offense comes many new faces to help run said scheme. None larger than the quarterbacks who encompass the Steelers’ quarterback room. Mason Rudolph stands as the only player with extensive experience with Canada, with Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett and Chris Oladokun rounding out the group this offseason.
So, what has been installed in the early stages of Phase 3 OTAs? According to Trubisky, the installation period is going well.
“We’ve kinda installed through everything and then we’re gonna go through and find out what fits us as an offense, me, specifically, and then the rest of the quarterback room,” Trubisky said. “It’s been a good installation period and I’m really enjoying the offense so far.”
At this point, it is natural for Steelers fans to be skeptical of hope for the Steelers offense in 2022, and beyond. The offense fans have witnessed the past two seasons, only one with Canada at the helm, has been less than impressive. However, if there is any hope remaining it is in the fact the team has provided Canada the pieces he needs to run his offense.
Will his offense work at the NFL level? Time will tell, but there is no doubt the Steelers have gone all-in on providing Canada with the roster he needs to get the offense back on track.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of OTAs and mandatory minicamp.