It sure has suddenly turned into a busy day for the Pittsburgh Steelers. This morning, they learned that another one of their own, Donnie Shell, would be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year. A short time later, they announced the hiring of a quarterbacks coach in Matt Canada. And now, president Art Rooney II just wrapped up a closed session with select members of the local media.
As far as the 2020 season is concerned, the most significant of the three was obviously the hiring of a quarterbacks coach. For the past two seasons, the team has operated without an individual dedicated solely to that task. Randy Fichtner, who had previously held the role, has since shared duties as offensive coordinator since 2018.
According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the decision to hire Canada came down to Rooney, who told reporters that it was important to find someone “who was the right fit”. Canada is familiar to the organization as a former Pitt offensive coordinator.
The decision to hire former Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Canada as QB coach came from Rooney, who said it was important “finding someone who waas the right fit. Mike is comfortable knowing Matt from down the hall.”
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) January 15, 2020
The absence of a dedicates quarterbacks coach became a major issue this past season due to the injury of Ben Roethlisberger, which left the offense in the hands of two young quarterbacks who had never professionally thrown a meaningful pass.
Mason Rudolph, a second-year player who didn’t play a snap as a rookie, and Devlin Hodges, an undrafted rookie out of an FCS school combined to start 14 of 16 games in 2019. While they posted a combined 8-6 record as starters, their isolated performances clearly left much to be desired.
Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review also reports that Rooney did not rule out the possibility of further additions to the coaching staff, but on this front deferred to head coach Mike Tomlin, and said that any changes would be finalized next week in time for the Senior Bowl.
Art Rooney II didn’t discount more additions to the coaching staff aside from QB coach Matt Canada, but he deferred to coach Mike Tomlin. Art II said Tomlin will be finalizing any changes next week at the Senior Bowl.
— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) January 15, 2020
Last season, the Steelers truncated the outside linebacker position after not renewing Joey Porter’s contract, dividing those responsibilities between defensive coordinator Keith Butler and defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. So the outside linebacker coach position is another potential area for a hire.
In addition to that change, the Steelers also made a switch at running backs coach, allowing James Saxon’s contract to expire and hiring former NC State coach Eddie Faulkner. They also brought aboard former defensive coordinator Teryl Austin as ‘Senior Defensive Assistant/Secondary’, who has become the de facto defensive backs coach and also serves in a gameday analytics capacity.