The Pittsburgh Steelers seem content to move forward with Matt Canada at the helm, and frankly, it is a pathetic decision for the team.
The Steelers have announced that they intend to keep offensive coordinator Matt Canada for another season. The decision has, unsurprisingly, been met with discontent and flat-out disappointment. The man Steelers nation wanted to be fired early in the season is set to be around for another season.
Frankly, this is a terrible decision by the team. Canada showcased over two seasons that he isn’t a great offensive mind and keeping him around makes almost zero sense. Find me a game where Canada was the difference maker. You can’t, as his offense was consistently a weakness for this team.
Matt Canada has underwhelmed in its two seasons here
The Steelers added Canada as their quarterback’s coach in 2020 with the intention to have him replace Randy Fitchner as offensive coordinator. His first season in that role was mediocre, as ESPN had the Steelers offense ranked as the 23rd-best unit in the league. He followed that up in 2022 with the exact same 23rd-place ranking.
That isn’t a good thing, as Canada’s offense has been in the back half of the NFL for both of his seasons here. 2021 could be defended, as he was working with Ben Roethlisberger, and it was very much still his offense. He had his younger and more mobile quarterback in 2022 though, and the results were the same.
There isn’t a good reason to keep a coordinator that has underwhelmed in his first two seasons with the team. It would be one thing if he had a great track record of success before these hiccups, but he doesn’t. His college and NFL resumes have been mediocre before this, and that trend has continued.
Matt Canada is impeding on Kenny Pickett
The only real argument for keeping Canada is that this team wants to provide Kenny Pickett with the same offensive coordinator in year two. While there is a proven track record of young quarterbacks faltering when they are presented with a new offensive coordinator every season, making a change now was still logical.
Pickett would have to learn a new offense, but at least he would have a better coordinator in his corner. Canada did nothing for Pickett as a rookie. It isn’t like he was perfect in his first year. He was a below-average starter for most of the season, and a bland and predictable offense didn’t help that.
Pickett would have had the entire offseason to learn the playbook. He likely wasn’t entrenched in Canada’s system as he didn’t even start all season under it. Change can be hard for a rookie going into his second year, but this change seemed necessary.
This is a bad look for the Steelers
This is one of the biggest offseasons the Steelers have had in recent years. They have their quarterback, he’s on a rookie deal, and they have cap space and draft picks to fill needs. They need to be aggressive in building a competent team to compete next year. That starts with coaching though, and this is a bad look for the team.
While the offense got slightly better as the season progressed, that change was marginal. The teams they were facing were significantly worse than their early-season opponents, and frankly, the only reason the offense got better was due to their running game finally taking over. That is the only great thing that Canada did this season, as he found a way to utilize both of the Steelers backs.
It isn’t like there aren’t options elsewhere in the NFL. Plenty of quality coaches are available, and it is maddening that the Steelers aren’t even exploring other options. What did Canada do to earn his job in 2023?
A pretty standard recipe for success with a young quarterback is to land a bright offensive coordinator that has helped develop the position before. The Bills had that with Josh Allen and Brian Daboll and the Chiefs achieved that with Patrick Mahomes and Eric Bieniemy. Canada isn’t even close to a comparable coach, and it is going to cost the Steelers.
Is Pittsburgh so against firing coordinators that they want to give him another season so his contract can expire? Is consistency the goal when the results are mediocre? Keeping Canada for another season is a mistake, and it already puts the Steelers behind in a critical 2023 offseason.