Matt Canada is in his third season as the Offensive Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and his tenure with the team has not been pretty. Pittsburgh has struggled to move the ball consistently and score points throughout his tenure with the team.
At first, there was blame on Ben Roethlisberger for being old, and immobile with not enough arm strength, which some used to excuse Canada for his limited play calling. Last year the team was operating with a rookie quarterback so, some may have argued that he needed to keep things simple for Kenny Pickett in his first season as a starter.
However, neither of those excuses is valid anymore, as Pickett has NFL experience, and knows the offense, there is no reason that the offense should not be adding more layers and wrinkles to the game plan and playbook each week.
Pickett proved capable down the stretch last year in the two-minute offense, and showed he could lead the team down the field to score when the game was on the line, and showed it again this week against the Ravens. He has been at his best when the opposing defense must stay on the field, and when he can have some input on the plays.
The team needs change on the offensive side of the ball, as play calls have been far too predictable, and opposing defenses have had no trouble stopping them. George Pickens runs almost strictly sideline routes, the team throws check downs to Jaylen Warren in nearly every third and long situation, and does not use the middle of the field, with the exception of check downs.
But while change would be the best for Pittsburgh, Matt Canada isn't going anywhere.
Canada will remain the Steelers OC through the end of the season
Despite constant calls from fans to fire Canada, deep down, most Steelers' fans know that he isn't going anywhere. The Steelers value continuity, as evidenced by the fact that the team has only had three head coaches since 1969. While all three of those head coaches will likely end up in the Hall of Fame, the point stands that the Steelers find continuity to be extremely valuable.
The team rarely fires coaches, usually letting them finish out their tenures with the team, and even when they part ways, they never truly fire them, instead they either mutually part ways or let the coach retire. This is how the team has always operated, and it is unlikely to change in this situation. The team will likely let this season play out, and will not renew his contract when it expires in the offseason.
If they were going to fire Canada, it would've happened on Monday, as the team would've had two full weeks to ramp things up with a new offensive coordinator. Since it hasn't happened, it is increasingly less likely that he would be dismissed, as the team is already putting its focus towards Week 7 against the Los Angeles Rams.
Rumors have swirled that the team has been contacted by their former quarterback, Byron Leftwich to potentially call plays. Leftwich was the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they won the Super Bowl, and whether you like his play calling or not, would definitely present a distinct change from what the Steelers are doing schematically right now.
And while that might be appealing to many, it really isn't realistic to expect in-season. If they were to make a change during the season, they would likely promote from within, but with nobody on the staff having extensive experience calling plays, that isn't really a realistic option either.
While this isn't the result myself or the rest of Steelers Nation is hoping for, retaining Canada is unfortunately the most likely solution. The team is sitting at 3-2, in first place in the AFC North, and if the offense can find any sort of life following the bye, they could be a dangerous team, as they have already proven they can force turnovers on the defensive side of the ball, better then arguably any other team.
With two weeks to prepare for their next game, hopefully, Canada can draw up some new plays and add a few wrinkles to his playbook. That combined with the return of Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth will hopefully be the spark the team needs to ignite the offense.