Steelers dramatic improvements aren’t enough for Matt Canada to stay

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Steelers made major strides in the second half of the 2022 season, but here’s why they aren’t convincing enough for Matt Canada to keep his job.

The 2022 season was certainly a tale of two halves for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the first half of the season, Mike Tomlin’s team struggled immensely as they were routinely bullied by playoff-caliber teams and pretenders alike. This led to a disgraceful 2-6 record leading up to the bye week.

However, in the second half of the year, the Steelers really turned it around. Since their Week 9 bye, Pittsburgh went 7-2 to close out the 2022 season. One of these losses came at the hands of backup QB Mitch Trubisky when he telegraphed 3 interceptions against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14 — a game that ultimately need in a 14-16 defeat.

In addition to mostly passing the eye test, statistics prove that Pittsburgh was a much-improved team in the second half of 2022 as opposed to the first half. In Weeks 1-8, the Steelers averaged just 15.0 points per game while surrendering 24.6 points per contest to their opponents, according to ESPN stats.

The second half of the year was distinctly different. In Weeks 10-18, this team managed 20.8 points per game on offense while allowing just 16.5 per game to the opposition. Obviously, the strength of the schedule and several other factors clearly come into play here, but the numbers certainly show that this team was improving.

Steelers should still fire Matt Canada despite improvements

Even with dramatic improvements on both sides of the football, we still believe that Matt Canada should be fired early in the 2023 offseason. Though he did increase his team’s offensive production by five points per game in the second half of the season it’s still not good enough.

If we prorate 20.8 points for an entire season, this still would have been good for only the 19th-highest-scoring offense in the NFL. If comparing it to other years, like the 2020 season, Canada’s offense would rank 28th in the league.

It’s clear that the most drastic improvements came on the defensive side of the ball — something Canada clearly has no control over. This team improved by 8 points per game in half a season’s time. Again, their easy strength of schedule on the back nine had a lot to do with this, as did the return of reigning Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt.

What’s easy to tell is that Matt Canada’s game plan isn’t going to work against good teams — even when his offense is executing it perfectly. Running the ball 40 times per game and playing good defense is only going to get you so far when you have one of the worst passing offenses in the league and can’t convert often enough in the red zone.

Canada simply does not have a plan of attack when his team gets down in games, and when you consider that the road to the Super Bowl over the next decade is probably going through teams like the Chiefs, Bills, and Bengals, this simply isn’t a good enough strategy.

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Pittsburgh Steelers fans should be pleased with the progress their team showed late in the year as well as the improvements we saw from rookie QB Kenny Pickett. However, at its best, this offense is still a below-average unit in the NFL, and Matt Canada’s style isn’t changing anytime soon. He needs to go.