Eye of the beholder

What the offense will eventually look like this season was a much-discussed subject during OTAs and the minicamps the Steelers staged in the spring, but running back Najee Harris didn't understand what all the fuss was about.

"We have the same offensive coordinator so it's the same offense," Harris maintained.

Technically, Harris was correct in his assessment.

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada hasn't re-written the playbook in advance of his second season with the Steelers.

But with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger having retired, there will be a different trigger man.

And whether it's Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph or Kenny Pickett pulling the trigger, the plays they're asked to execute may well be different from what Roethlisberger preferred and most often relied upon.

Technically, they will still run Steelers' plays from the Steelers' playbook.

But the ones called with regularity might be ones that didn't often see the light of day or the lights on at night in a stadium last season.

"Possibly," offensive tackle Dan Moore Jr. offered.

Tight end Pat Freiermuth was expecting noticeable changes at the outset of OTAs.

"It's definitely a different offense," he maintained.

The changes have been inspired by Roethlisberger's departure and the Steelers' desire, from the top down, to include mobility as a weapon for Roethlisberger's eventual successor.

"With Ben being here for so long, he had his ways that he wanted things," Freiermuth continued. "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.

"It's gonna be Coach Canada's offense and he's gonna do what he came here to do."

Freiermuth anticipated sprint outs, bootlegs, misdirection and shifts being included on Canada's to-do list.

The Steelers finished 23rd in total offense in 2021, 29th rushing and 15th passing, while running an offense that tried to combine the concepts Canada favored with Roethlisberger's capabilities in his 18th season.

Canada, likewise, intends to fashion this year's attack around the quarterback's skill set.

Take a look at the best black and white photos of the 2022 Steelers minicamp

And that skill set, whether it's Trubisky, Rudolph or Pickett under center, won't resemble Big Ben's.

Not initially, at least, and perhaps not all season.

"Ben and I had a good relationship," Canada said. "We kept the passing game, not because it was mandated or anything else. He played for 18 years. There's things Ben could do that nobody else on the planet could do. So we kept those things that he did well and we did the best we could to win as many games as we could.

"That's what you should do anytime. Whoever your players are, you should focus about your players. It is different in a sense, possibly, that we've now evolved and we're calling things a little bit differently. But a lot of the plays are exactly the same."

So will the offense actually look different or not?

"It could," Canada added. "Obviously, we all want the results to be different. It's a results-based business and I'm in charge of the offense. It's going to look, hopefully, good enough to win as many games as we can possibly win and score as many points as we can score.

"It's gonna look like whatever we think week-to-week we can do to win. And that's the great thing about Coach (head coach Mike Tomlin), we're not chasing stats, chasing this and that. We obviously want to have an offensive system. We obviously want to have production in certain areas. But the bottom line is we have to score more points. We have to win more games.

"Whatever we have to do, however it looks to do that, that's our charge."