Back in January, the Pittsburgh Steelers made the change we have all been waiting for; dumping Offensive Coordinator Randy Fichtner in favor of Matt Canada.
To Steelers fans this came as no surprise and a huge relief, as the Steelers’ offense was ranked 25th in total offense and last in rushing offense in 2020. To help amplify this, the Los Angeles Chargers, Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, and Carolina Panthers were some teams who finished higher than the Steelers in total offense in the 2020 season.
I think I speak for all of Steeler Nation when I say please help us, Coach Canada.
Canada was a collegiate offensive guru going back to his first job at Butler in 1997. Since then, he’s created an incredibly elaborate offensive scheme, involving a plethora of pre-snap motions, switches, smoke, and mirrors. We saw some shades of this in 2020. Just think, how many motion sweeps did we see with Diontae Johnson, Anthony McFarland Jr., and Chase Claypool on run and play-action calls? Well, this is just the beginning of what is to come in 2021 with Coach Canada.
How is Canada going to enhance the Steelers’ lackluster run game? According to Canada on his offense, “It’s about players, not plays”. He has explained his system is very easy to learn and he has proved this in almost every coaching job he’s held. Not only is it an easy system to learn, but he has found ways to tailor it to players’ strengths. This gives the Steelers plenty of flexibility in drafting skill players late in the coming draft, while addressing the glaring needs on the offensive line first. Canada has been able to develop NFL-caliber talent at running back (Melvin Gordon, Jaylen Samuels, James White, Derek Watt, James Conner, Leonard Fournette), wide receiver (DJ Chark, Justin Jefferson, Marquez Valdes-Scantling), and quarterback (Jacoby Brissett) with this system in the NCAA. This shows us that Canada may have what it takes to take a “low-budget offense” into the postseason.
However on the opposite side of the same coin, weren’t opposing defenses saying how easy it was to game plan for the Steelers the last third of the season?
Steelers fans are going to see a very (necessary) different looking offense in 2021, there is no denying that. But, I see some hope in what is to come. What if the 2020 offense was too “Fichtner’d” to allow Canada’s system to flourish? What if the young offense had an entire offseason to fully immerse itself in Canada’s system? Maybe a new offensive scheme, paired with a young roster, led by a hungry veteran quarterback is what is needed for the Steelers to get over the playoff hump and propelled back onto the stairway to seven in 2021.