'Fire Canada.' Those were the two words of chant at Acrisure Stadium during the Steelers Week 5 game against the Ravens. Roughly sixty-thousand fans made themselves heard as they voiced their great displeasure with Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator, Matt Canada.
At this point, I do feel bad for the guy. He's the brunt of every joke in Pittsburgh at the moment, and everyone is wishing for him to be out of work. While I certainly have no ill will toward Canada, I agree that the Steelers do need to move on at this point.
There comes a time when the organization has to sit back and say, 'Enough is enough.' Since becoming the offensive coordinator of the Steelers back in 2021, Pittsburgh's scoring, yards, and yards per play have taken a noticeable dip -- even from the previous unspectacular OC, Randy Fichtner.
Obviously, there are a variety of factors that can contribute to this. Kenny Pickett, for starters, is playing like one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL this year. Many thought that Pittsburgh reached to take him in the 2022 NFL Draft, and there's a chance that he's just a bad football player.
But we have to start somewhere. And it seems much more logical to dump the third-year offensive coordinator who has never produced respectable results rather than making a change from your 25-year-old first-round quarterback at this point.
Why Steelers must move on from Matt Canada
Now that we have officially approached the Week 6 bye, the Steelers need to end the Matt Canada experiment. The first question fans will ask is, 'If Canada is fired, who are you replacing him with?'
To that, my response is simple: I do not care.
At this point, Canada simply needs to be removed from the equation. We know that he's a problem at this point. What we don't know is what Kenny Pickett or the offense could possibly look like without him (we just haven't seen it yet).
We know that this unit is still going to have some major weaknesses. These are easy to see. Pittsburgh clearly needs a future starting center and right tackle, while the jury is still out on several of their players.
Whoever they get to be the interim offensive coordinator to replace Canada for the rest of the 2023 season likely won't retain that job in 2024 and beyond when the Steelers are able to do a much more thorough search. If they did decide to make the switch now, it's entirely possible that another internal hire (perhaps QB coach Mike Sullivan) could take Canada's place.
No matter what, we wouldn't see this team completely scrap their playbook -- there just isn't enough time for that. However, calling the right plays in the right situation or giving Pickett more free reign in the offense could prove to be beneficial.
The biggest thing that the Steelers must figure out as soon as possible is whether or not Kenny Pickett can be a franchise quarterback. If the answer is no (and it's very possible this is the case), then this team has much bigger issues on their hand than firing an unspectacular offensive coordinator.
Steelers won't fire Canada mid-season
As they enter their bye week, the Steelers are 29th in points per game, 20th in yards per game, 26th in yards per play, 32nd in first downs per game, and 29th in offense EPA, according to Team Rankings and rbsdm.com. In nearly all of these major categories, Canada's offense has gotten progressively worse each of the past three seasons. In what world is this the standard?
Matt Canada needs to go... but I highly doubt this is something we will see happen during the season.
Unlike other NFL teams who made huge firings and hirings during the season last year, Pittsburgh has never been an organization to make a shuffle of this magnitude during the season (at least not for a very long time).
From their perspective, there's even less incentive to do so when the Steelers currently sit on a 3-2 record and are in first place in the AFC North. However, Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan need to understand that they have somehow been able to do this in spite of their offense; not because of it.
This team has already suffered two blowout losses in their first five games, and part of the reason is the inability of the offense to stay on the field and put up points. If you take away scores from the defense and special teams this year, the Steelers are managing a dismal 12.4 points per game as they enter the bye week.
Still, Tomlin and the front office won't risk a major change like this thanks to their current winning record. Had things swung the other way in bizarre games against the Browns and Ravens this year, we might be having a different conversation right now.