The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, now into the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.
There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the regular season. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.
Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.
There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.
Question: Can Matt Canada’s offense still work with better execution?
There probably hasn’t ever been a time during which a large swath of the fanbase didn’t want the offensive coordinator fired, regardless of who it was or how the offense was doing. The early stages of the 2022 season are certainly no different.
This year was billed as the first year of the true Matt Canada offense, even though it’s his second season as coordinator, as even he himself has publicly acknowledged that what the team ran last year was a concession to what Ben Roethlisberger wanted.
Yet many can’t see many differences between what the offense is running now and what they looked like a year ago. Needless to say, it immediately resurrects the question of whether or not, on a fundamental level, his offense can actually work sustainably.
The Steelers have just two offensive touchdowns through nine quarters of play, plus five field goals. It hasn’t been great. The running game is a far cry from where they want it to be, and certainly lacks for explosion, but they did actually have a good success rate yesterday. Still, it’s not something right now they can practically lean on.
As for the passing game, with respect to pass protection, it has been better overall than many feared. They have only allowed three sacks, and the case could easily be made that quarterback Mitch Trubisky was responsible for all of them. Pressure rates still need to improve, especially for long-developing plays.
At the heart of the question is really this: can we fully judge Matt Canada’s offense before we get a good look at Kenny Pickett within it? Because that’s what this is all about. Trubisky is the starter right now but this is Pickett’s team in the long view. So can he run Canada’s offense? Is it even good enough to survive until then? How much improvement can we reasonably expect in terms of execution over the course of the season?