Many Pittsburgh Steelers fans are waiting for the day the team fires offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
September 24 will not be that day. In fact, the Steelers doubled down on their belief in Canada on that day instead.
NFL insider Jordan Schultz reported hours before Sunday kickoff in Week 3 that the Steelers are moving Canada “to a more prominent role working with quarterback Kenny Pickett.” In this new role, Canada will work with Pickett “on a daily basis.”
In addition to these added responsibilities, Canada will continue calling offensive plays.
Based on the report, it’s unclear when Canada will begin his new role. The Steelers will face the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday Night Football in Week 3.
How Will Matt Canada’s New Role Impact the Offense?
There are a few unanswered questions from Schultz’s report. First, with Canada assuming a more direct role with Pickett, what will happen to quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan?
Like Canada, Sullivan is in his third season in his current role with the Steelers. Sullivan is also in his 19th NFL season (he has a decade and a half more NFL experience than Canada does).
Canada has served as either a quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator since 2001, but much of his experience is from college. He spent seven seasons at both Northern Illinois and Indiana.
In his most recent college stint, Canada had one season as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2018.
Canada has served as Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator since 2021. He was the team’s quarterbacks coach in 2020.
The other obvious question from Schultz’s report is why isn’t Canada already directly working with Pickett on a daily basis. Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora tried to answer that question on Twitter shortly after Schultz released his report.
The other obvious question is if the Steelers brass believe this will make “a big difference” than why wasn’t Canada in this role from the start of the season?
Steelers Searching for Answers on Offense
One thing the offensive coaching shakeup clearly indicates is the Steelers are trying to break out of their slow start to the season on offense.
Through the first two weeks of the season, the Steelers are 26th in points scored and 31st in yards. If not for the defense, the Steelers would be last in points scored. Pittsburgh’s defense scored two touchdowns in the 26-22 victory against the Cleveland Browns.
Pretty much every aspect of the offense has struggled significantly. Canada hasn’t tried very hard to establish a ground attack, and when given the opportunity, running backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren have largely been stuck in neutral.
The Steelers are 31st in both rushing yards and rushing attempts through two weeks.
The offensive line has been a big part of the problem. Pro Football Focus has the Steelers ranked 30th in run blocking and 32nd in pass protection. There are no holes for the running backs, and Pickett hasn’t had sufficient time to throw.
However, Pickett also appears to be regressing after a strong finish to his rookie season. He’s missed open receivers and made bad reads.
Pickett has 2 touchdowns versus 3 interceptions while his completion percentage and yards per attempt average are both lower than what they were last year.
His 69.7 passer rating is also lower and ranked 29th in the NFL. Only Deshaun Watson, Bryce Young and Zach Wilson have lower rankings through two weeks.
If all else fails for the Steelers offense this season, the organization must get Pickett back on the right track in his development. Much to the chagrin for Steelers fans, the organization will turn to Canada to achieve that goal.