- Steelers fans have been calling for Canada’s downfall since before the season even started
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The Pittsburgh Steelers have fired struggling offensive coordinator Matt Canada after the team got off to a respectable 6-4 start.
Struggling Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett was just 15 of 28 for 106 yards in Sunday’s 13-10 loss to the rival Cleveland Browns.
The Steelers currently rank 28th in offense, allowing just 283.6 yards per game – worse than all but four NFL teams.
Pittsburgh fans have been calling for Canada’s ouster since last season, but longtime Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has traditionally been reluctant to make such moves in the middle of the season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have fired struggling offensive coordinator Matt Canada (pictured)
Canada has taken the brunt of the criticism as the weeks go by and Pittsburgh continues to sputter, the truth is there is plenty of blame to go around.
The offensive line couldn’t stop Browns defensive end Myles Garrett. Canada’s play calls – such as a first-quarter swing pass to running back Jaylen Warren in which no orange-helmeted player appeared to be remotely deceived – varied between bizarre and ineffective.
And Pickett seemed to behave as if there was a force field 15 yards down, opting for short and (theoretically) safe throws that went nowhere. He didn’t go over 100 yards until the final snap of the game and has two touchdown passes since the calendar turned to October.
Tomlin has steadfastly protected the former Pitt star since promoting him to starter a month into the 2022 season. He has pointed out that the intangibles Pickett provides – chief among them toughness and determination – are evidence of progress, even if Pickett’s numbers suggest the exact opposite is true.
There was no scoreboard to hide behind on Sunday. No magic in the final moments, which “Fourth Quarter Kenny” summoned semi-regularly (albeit briefly) to avert disaster.
Instead, the Steelers were once again exposed in playoff contention by a team, this time an AFC North rival, that happened to have a rookie quarterback at the helm.
Squint your eyes and there is no need to panic. The upcoming schedule looks manageable, especially with Bengals star Joe Burrow out for the remainder of the season.
But at some point, the Steelers have to look like a playoff team when the offense is on the field. They haven’t done that in a long time since the height of the “Killer B” era led by Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell in the mid-2010s.
Pickett continues to say all the right things. And many longtime NFL starters took more than 22 games to find themselves.
But most of those starters didn’t play on a team with a top-10 scoring defense that features potential Hall of Famers at all three levels, a defense that’s built to win right now.
This is part of the frustration that is slowly creeping in.
Pittsburgh doesn’t need Pickett to transform into Patrick Mahomes, but a little sustained competency would go a long way. The list of players with more touchdown passes this season than the six Pickett collected in 10 games includes Bryce Young, Jimmy Garoppolo and Mac Jones.