Steelers Rookies Give Insight to Matt Canada's Offense

Steelers Rookies Give Insight to Matt Canada's Offense

The Extra Point: Steelers Counting on Najee Harris to Key Offensive Revival

Pittsburgh has tasked former Alabama running back and new offensive coordinator Matt Canada to restart stalled offense
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When he first arrived with Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the first things Najee Harris experienced was a feeling of familiarity.

Even though the NFL team had been transitioning into a new offense under the direction of Matt Canada, the approach and playbook initially reminded him of what Alabama did (under Steve Sarkisian). 

"There's a lot of things that are similar," Harris told All Steelers at rookie minicamp in May. "It's just different terminology, but the same meaning at the end of the day."

Granted, the players are bigger and faster in the NFL, and the attention to detail even more precise. But by similar, Harris was mostly referring to how players are used. 

"What they're doing in their offense really resembles a lot of what we did in terms of putting the players in the best position to make a play and not doing too much thinking — just fast playing," Harris said. "It seems like they're trying to make everything as easy as possible so players can just play fast and use the best of their abilities."

Alabama fans remember Canada from the 2017 season, when he was the offensive coordinator at LSU. Last season he was Pittsburgh's quarterbacks coach, and replaced Randy Fichtner when the Steelers struggled to move the ball, especially in the ground. 

The Steelers ranked 25th in the NFL in total offense (334.6 yards per game). The 82.5 rushing yards per game ranked last in the league. 

Thus, the addition of Harris. 

The 24th-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft is Alabama's all-time leading rusher, and last season scored 30 touchdowns (26 rushing, four receiving). That's despite Sarkisian making sure not to overuse him. 

But he also didn't limit Harris' use, or replace him in certain situations. The running back believes the Steelers will do the same. 

Consequently, he might quickly become be the centerpiece of the Steelers' offense, and why some like The Athletic's Ed Bouchette (the longtime writer who covers the team better than anyone) believe Harris will be Pittsburgh's MVP this season. 

The Extra Point is a regular weekday feature on BamaCentral, and often includes video and other elements from our FanNation partners. Other recent segments include:

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When he first arrived with Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the first things Najee Harris experienced was a feeling of familiarity.

Even though the NFL team had been transitioning into a new offense under the direction of Matt Canada, the approach and playbook initially reminded him of what Alabama did (under Steve Sarkisian). 

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