Steelers plan to have Matt Canada return as OC for the 2023 season
Recent reports confirm that the Pittsburgh Steelers plan to keep Matt Canada around for the 2023 season. Here’s what that means for this team.
Well, it seems to be official at this point. On Wednesday afternoon, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers have no intention to move on from Matt Canada, sources confirm. Joe Rutter of TribLIVE later confirmed the news. Canada has been the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh each of the past two years, and after underwhelming results on offense, many thought that 2022 would be his last season with the team.
This isn’t the outcome that many fans were hoping for, but it’s one that we are getting nonetheless. We can’t pretend that this decision comes as a surprise. Historically, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been as loyal to their coaching staff as any team in sports.
Now the question becomes: how does this team improve from here? After two seasons with Matt Canada calling the shots on offense, we have yet to see a unit that has even ranked inside the top 20 in points scored. After scoring 20.2 points per game in 2021, that number dropped to just 18.1 per contest in 2022, per Team Rankings.
Still, this was apparently enough for Canada to keep his job as offensive coordinator. Mike Tomlin must have believed they saw enough from him down the stretch for this to work out. But will this team be able to make the improvements it needs to in order to become Super Bowl champions once more?
Steelers offensive changes won’t be drastic enough
As much as we would like to think that Canada is capable of leading this team to long-term success, that might not be in the cards. In fact, the more I go back and watch the film from the 2022 season, the less there is to like.
While I am a big fan of Canada’s run fits thanks to his use of misdirection and pre-snap motion, I think that his passing concepts are pretty awful. They grossly lack creativity and they aren’t designed to get playmakers the ball in space. Because of this, opportunities to help Kenny Pickett out after the catch simply aren’t there.
Though many fans will point to a lack of execution from Pickett or the skill players, it’s pretty easy to see how a passing game designed to protect the quarterback is actually hurting this team. Canada’s passing plays are designed to keep Pickett out of harm’s way, but in doing so, he limits the upside of this offense.
Instead of trying to push the ball down the field, throw across the middle, or move the chains on any given play, Canada is comfortable living to get into 3rd and manageable situations. This game plan of running the ball nearly 40 times per game and limiting the risky plays your quarterback has to make isn’t going to cut it against true playoff contenders.
Simply put, Matt Canada’s offense just does not offer enough upside from game to game to make us believe that they can get hot enough for four straight games in the playoffs to become Super Bowl champions. It’s a game plan designed to work against average to below-average teams in the regular season. Nothing more.
Now we just have to hope that Matt Canada has something up his sleeve that we haven’t yet seen. In year three, that really seems unlikely. Hopefully, the Pittsburgh Steelers can put enough talent around Kenny Pickett so that they can overcome their game plan deficiencies.