Believe it or not, but players don’t always believe that every play that’s called is the play that puts their offense in the best position to succeed every time. That’s not to say that they don’t give their full effort to attempt to execute the play called to the best of their abilities, but they also won’t be surprised if it fails; and they may show it.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 4th and 1 play-calling has left multiple players gesturing after the fact, as though to say ‘I told you this wasn’t going to work’. The most notable example as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger several weeks ago. They had another fourth-down miss yesterday against the Kansas City Chiefs that looked doomed from the start.
Offensive coordinator Matt Canada called a pitch run right, yet the Chiefs seemed to be all over it, with no fewer than five defenders on the ball with only one offensive player in the vicinity to block. Running back Najee Harris ended up being tackled for a three-yard loss at the Steelers’ own 31-yard line.
The rookie was asked about the play call after the game, with a request that he take the media through the play and what went wrong. Whether he simply wasn’t interested in the question or because he couldn’t answer it without saying something he knows he shouldn’t, he declined. “I’m not answering that question. You can ask another question than that, please”, he said.
The Chiefs did end up missing a field goal attempt on the ensuing drive in spite of the fact that they took over possession inside of field goal range. They reached the 21-yard line before attempting the field goal, though it should be noted that their kicker, Harrison Butker, was on the Reserve/COVID-19 List, so the kicks were no gimme.
Of course, it was also 23-0 already, anyway.
Canada is in his first season as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. The Steelers hired him last season as quarterbacks coach, which was his first job in the professional ranks altogether, even though he had a long career in college coaching.
Given how many issues there are with the offense just in terms of personnel and execution, it is rather difficult to truly evaluate Canada’s abilities as a designer of an offense and as a play-caller. He has some ideas that are intriguing, but ultimately, the results on the field are his resume, and would any other team hire him to be their offensive coordinator over the course of the next two hiring cycles?