Mike Tomlin’s Tuesday press conference spent an unusual amount of time talking about coaches. Much of it centered around the departure of Adrian Klemm, leaving the team to take the Oregon O-line coach job, and Klemm’s replacement, Chris Morgan. But Tomlin was also asked to evaluate new OC Matt Canada’s playcalling and his adjustment to the NFL game. While Tomlin noted like any position, there is a learning curve, he had no issues with the job Canada has done.
“I have no reservations about the play calling component of his job and what he’s done,” Tomlin said via the team’s YouTube channel.
Most Steelers’ fans would disagree. Canada has come under plenty of criticism this season for his playcalling choices, particularly in the red zone. The Steelers currently rank 20th in red zone offense, finding the end zone 56.8% of the time. His play selection in Sunday’s loss against the Kansas City Chiefs was also called into question, highlighted (er, lowlighted) by a 4th and 1 toss at the end of the first half. It hopelessly failed, the second toss play of the game that went nowhere.
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) December 28, 2021
Believe it or not, those are two separate plays. Both with ugly outcomes.
Canada is in his second year in the NFL and first as an offensive coordinator. Tomlin understood there is a learning curve to any new role.
“But I also will acknowledge there’s probably a learning curve at every job that pertains to the National Football League. A college equipment man that becomes a pro equipment man, his job is somewhat different as I’m sure someone that covers college football in your space. It becomes significantly different when they cover professional football. I think that’s a reasonable discussion regardless of what we’re talking about in our ecosystem that is football.”
Canada’s job, of course, is under the microscope much more than an equipment manager. Though the Steelers rarely make knee-jerk reactions to new coaches, Canada’s job shouldn’t be considered 100% safe this offseason. Still, the odds of him getting fired one year into the job are lower than what most Steelers’ fans think it should be. The Steelers’ offense was a fast-changing and overall young group that needed time to grow and develop. Canada may get another season to see if the issues lie mainly with him or with the current product on the field.
If there is to be a coordinator change, it’s more likely to be DC Keith Butler. He signed a one-year deal to come back with the team in 2021 and may be “parted ways with” after the season.