I don’t know whether or not Randy Fichtner intends to retire, but the Pittsburgh Steelers did not announce that he would be stepping away from the game in revealing that they would not be renewing his contract. The last time they did that with an offensive coordinator, he became a two-time Coach of the Year and is about to participate in the Super Bowl.
Either way, Fichtner will not be running the offense for the Steelers in 2021. That will be Matt Canada, in his second season in the NFL, having served as the team’s quarterback coach this previous year. Though new to this level, he has more than two decades of coaching experience in various roles at the college level.
Canada was one of three candidates known to have interviewed for the offensive coordinator role, the other two being Hue Jackson and Pep Hamilton, the latter recently having been announced as taking a quarterbacks coach role elsewhere—while Pittsburgh still searches for one.
“Matt obviously was our internal candidate that we knew very well”, Art Rooney II said of Canada, courtesy of Jim Wexell of 247Sports. “Mike obviously interviewed a couple other coaches that he felt good about, felt they were good candidates, and I think they were. But at the end of the day, felt like Matt was the best fit for us”.
As we have previously written about, Canada was a sought-after commodity for consultation among teams when he was out of coaching in 2019, with NFL squads interested in his insight into the developments of the college game and how they translate into the professional level.
That was what the Steelers were hoping to get out of him when they brought him in as quarterbacks coach last year, also anticipating that he would have insights that go beyond that role, something that head coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged. That’s even more obvious now with the promotion, as Rooney also talked about.
“Really, I think some of the kinds of things that you’re seeing offenses around the league we need to employ in our offense”, he said. “We did some of that this year. At times we got away from it and that may have contributed to some of the inconsistency we had in the offense. We look forward to Matt coming in and having another year to put his system in place. We think he’ll do a good job”.
The Steelers finished 12th in points in 2020, but 24th in yards. Their numbers on the ground in particular were bad. They did finish in the top half of the league on third down (14th) and in the red zone (11th), so it could have been worse.