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Pittsburgh Steelers Sack Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada Amid Fourth Season With Team

matt-canada

Pittsburgh finally ended the Matt Canada era after the offense of the Steelers failed to ignite.

Canada served as offensive coordinator for the Steelers for just over two and a half seasons before being fired officially on Tuesday.

“I did not come to this decision lightly,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday, per ESPN.com. “It’s my role to absorb and protect those that I work with. This doesn’t feel like that. I’m not assigning blame or deflecting in any way. … Just rest assured that this decision was not taken lightly. I’ve got a lot of respect for Matt personally and professionally.”

Following Canada’s termination, NFL Network Insiders Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero reported that Mike Sullivan, the coach of the Steelers quarterbacks, and Eddie Faulkner, the coach of the running backs, will split coordinator responsibilities. It is anticipated that Faulkner will assume the role of acting offensive coordinator while Sullivan, a former coordinator for the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will call plays.

On Tuesday, Tomlin affirmed that Canada is terminating his call and that Faulker and Sullivan would split OC responsibilities.

“It was mine and mine alone,” Tomlin told reporters.

After taking over for Randy Fichtner as the quarterbacks coach for the Steelers in 2020, Canada was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2021. Canada, a seasoned college offensive coordinator, was supposed to bring motions and an updated passing game to Pittsburgh’s offense. Rather than being cohesive, the Steelers received a copycat scheme that was inconsistent all around and seldom put pressure on the defense deep.

The Steelers never finished higher than 23rd in yards and 21st in points under Canada in 44 games while the offensive coordinator. Pittsburgh is presently ranked 28th in terms of yards and points in 2023. With Kenny Pickett behind center, Pittsburgh’s passing game has been especially cruel; in 2023, they rank 31st in yards and 31st in touchdown passes (finishing 32nd in TD passes the previous season).

Less than 400 total yards have been produced by the Steelers in 58 consecutive games, including Canada’s entire play-calling campaign.

The Cleveland Browns’ 13–10 loss on Sunday was equally brutal. For the second time this season, the Steelers scored zero points and had fewer than 70 total yards in the first half of a game. In the first half, the team managed 64 total yards, including 15 net pass yards. Pittsburgh’s 77 net passing yards for the game were the lowest since Devlin Hodges was starting at quarterback in Week 17, 2019.

“There’s a lot of layers to it,” Tomlin said of the timing of his decision to move on from Canada. “Our most recent performance is a component of it. I just think you know when you’re there to be blunt and short about the answer. Again, not saying that flippantly not taking the situation lightly at all. But just having been in the role that I’ve been in for some time you just know when you’re there. A totality of a myriad of variables.”

Despite evident offensive shortcomings, the Steelers decided to stick with Canada in the offseason because they thought Pickett, a developing quarterback, would benefit from the continuity. The young quarterback’s faith has been completely destroyed as he has played poorly in 10 of his second season’s games.

Mitchell Trubisky is the team’s backup quarterback, but Pickett is still the team’s starting quarterback, according to Tomlin, who expressed his continued confidence in the second-year quarterback to reporters on Tuesday.

“Because I work with him every day,” Tomlin said. “I’ve been really transparent with you guys about him and his willingness to work and my experience and what that tells me. This guy will do any and everything. He works extremely hard. … There’s such a thing as football justice. Those guys usually get what they’re looking for. That’s why I remain consistently optimistic about the trajectory of his growth and development.”

Steelers supporters have demanded Caranda’s dismissal for more than a year. At every turn, Tomlin had resisted change, continuously supporting his OC and ignoring criticism. In the end, the offense’s stagnation made it impossible to overlook since a postseason run might be lost.

Despite having a -29 point differential, Pittsburgh is 6-4 and ranked No. 7 in the AFC. With Seattle at -2, they are the only two teams in 2023 with winning records and a negative point differential through Week 11.

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