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Matt Canada
Pittsburgh Steelers

Should Steelers Give Matt Canada Another Season As OC?

  • Justin Melo
  • January 19, 2022
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The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing to usher in a new era. Long-time general manager Kevin Colbert is expected to ride off into the sunset following the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft after running Pittsburgh's personnel department since 2000. Likely joining Colbert in the comforts of retirement is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, whose decorated 18-year career is also coming to a close following Pittsburgh's wild-card defeat suffered at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The 2022 Steelers will undoubtedly look different, but some traditions will remain in place. Barring an extremely unforeseen occurrence, head coach Mike Tomlin will take charge of the Steelers for the 16th consecutive season. While changes are afloat, offensive coordinator Matt Canada is largely expected to be retained too, according to comments made by Tomlin on Wednesday afternoon. Reactions from the Black and Yellow faithful arrived fast and furiously, as Canada was viewed as a potential scapegoat for Pittsburgh's offensive struggles throughout the 2021 season. The Steelers ranked in the bottom 10 in total yards gained per game (315.4) and rushing yards gained per contest (93.1) while scoring a below-average 20.2 points per game. While Steelers fans may be disappointed by the news, Canada deserves another shot to run his system, which was hindered by a lack of talent and execution in personnel-related departments. With all due respect to the Canton-bound Roethlisberger, the 39-year-old quarterback left plenty to be desired with his 2021 play due to declining accuracy among other arm-related issues. A young, inexperienced, and struggling offensive line greatly hampered Pittsburgh's offensive play as well, with both pass protection and run blocking seemingly becoming impossible tasks to execute on a play-by-play basis. Canada's offense and scheme became increasingly difficult to run. There's an argument to be made for Pittsburgh to attempt to upgrade the quarterback position and several spots across their offensive line before accurately assessing Canada's resume. It's viable to think that Tomlin is following a similar line of thinking. Pittsburgh's starting offense possesses several young starters, including Najee Harris, Chase Claypool, Pat Freiermuth, and Kenyon Green to name a few. Asking or expecting these players to yet again learn a new offensive scheme in the offseason would potentially do more harm than good while setting them back a year within their development. Giving young, ascending players a chance to grow into a familiar system is often the ideal way to get their best play out of them. And then the quarterback position and decision especially looms large. Backup quarterback Mason Rudolph is largely viewed as a legitimate replacement for Roethlisberger in 2022. It's another decision that would be unpopular throughout western Pennsylvania but would represent another strong argument to retain Canada. Rudolph is extremely comfortable with Canada, having spent the previous two seasons under his tutelage. We're not absolving Canada of all blame. Pittsburgh's former quarterbacks coach failed to properly grow into his new offensive coordinator role in year one. Canada’s offense was big on eye-candy and window dressing with his penchant for pre-snap motion but fell short on execution and expectations. He must show the ability to learn from his mistakes. Canada must show adequate growth in 2022 if he hopes to return in 2023.

Written By

Justin Melo