True to his fashion, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made the no-huddle offense a topic of conversation this week in the way that only he can, through post-game remarks that can be interpreted as passive-aggressive criticism, only to be asked to clarify his remarks in passive-aggressive fashion later on in the week.
Following Sunday’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, the 18-year veteran told reporters that they basically don’t have a no-huddle offense outside of the two-minute drill, when he was asked if going no-huddle helped the offense pick it up late in the game. On Wednesday, when asked again, he said that their no-huddle menu was only about a dozen plays, indicating that it had been 50-100 under Randy Fichtner.
And so, of course, new offensive coordinator Matt Canada was asked about this entire situation when going his media availability session earlier today—specifically about whether or not the amount of plays in the no-huddle package will change.
“It’s a week-to-week deal. Week-to-week, we have different things we wanna do”, he said. “Again, there’s a million things we’re trying to get done with our offense with new pieces and young guys and all those things. We’ll use that”.
As an unnecessary reminder, this offense includes five new starters from last season, including four rookies, and two of the other starters are second-year players whose first offseason in the NFL was truncated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We obviously know Ben’s strengths and certainly try to lean on him between series and do what he wants to do, what he sees, what we see”, Canada added. “Ultimately, the things that I chose didn’t work well enough for us to win, but we certainly will use that when we think we need to. We’ll go from there”.
One thing that has certainly been different about Canada versus the past three seasons with Fichtner as offensive coordinator is that, at least in his public comments, there has been much more focus paid to tailoring individual gamplans to specific opponents. Whether or not we really see that reflected in the field, well, it will probably take more than two games to tell.
But it stands to reason that the menu of options at their disposal will expand as this group works together more, and as the young individuals who are a key part of the process mature and gain experience.
Roethlisberger’s remarks earlier in the week may or may not reflect a bit of impatience with this process. He obviously enjoys running out of the no-huddle, as I’m sure most quarterbacks do. But he’s never been surrounded by so much turnover before in his career, and, frankly, we’ve already seen enough miscommunications without it.