Steelers' Fichtner Expecting Big Contribution From New Coaches

Noah Strackbein

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers' two newest coaches joined their team for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut sports down. 

Matt Canada and Ike Hillard are taking control of the Steelers' passing game. As the newest quarterbacks and wide receiver coaches in Pittsburgh, they're about to get their first opportunity to work with their players. 

Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner hasn't seen his players yet, but is looking forward to what his offense can do with Ben Roethlisberger back behind center. 2020 will be the first season since coming to Pittsburgh that Fichtner isn't working as the team's quarterback coach, but sees the upside in Canada taking the role.

"Well, I think, obviously, expertise in years of coaching the quarterbacks, years being around offensive football," Fichtner said during a Zoom call. "Years of being a play-caller and experience being a head coach. It is more knowledge in the room. It is one more opportunity to throw ideas around. 

"Last year was a little unique. We started the process a couple years ago keeping continuity with Ben. I would stay as the quarterbacks coach and coordinate. I think it is a big job. I believe it is a fun job. It keeps up communication at a premium. I also know that when it comes to ideas and when it comes to thoughts and things you can bring to the table every week and what he can bring to the table that might be different than I would in that room is going to be really fun to see and develop."

Fichtner is also excited for what Hillard brings to the team. A former NFL receiver, Hillard will work as the team's wide receiver coach in replace of the late Darryl Drake. 

"Adding a lot of playing experience with coaching experience in the National Football League. That is unique. It always has been," Fichtner said on what Hillard brings to the coaching staff. "I have been pleased with the exposure I have been with Ike. We probably spent a month before Pennsylvania shut down, we spent an awful lot of time doing what you and I are doing right now. And it really is an awesome experience. 

"He has a unique mind for the game. I think his personality is going to mesh with young guys. I think one of the things that is unique. We like to think we have young guys, but if you look at the Washington roster last year, the youth that they played with and some of the things that those young guys did, impressive. And he was very impressive in the interview. And I am ecstatic." 

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.