2022 South Side Questions: Will Matt Canada Survive The Season?

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: Will Matt Canada survive the season as offensive coordinator and play-caller?

So here’s the question I’m sure many have wanted to see: will Matt Canada survive the season? I think we all agree it’s very unlikely that the Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin will actually fire him in-season, but he could certainly be stripped of certain responsibilities.

The last example we know of to have a coach stripped of responsibilities was Jack Bicknell Jr., who served one season as offensive line coach in 2013. It was reported by multiple journalists at the time that by the end of the season, it was then-assistant Shaun Sarrett who was leading the offensive line room.

The following year they fired Bicknell, a significant rarity in general as they typically allow coaches’ contracts to expire, with assistant coach contracts generally being two-year deals. But they went and hired Mike Munchak, so that worked out pretty well.

The offense is simply not scoring points, however, which is its main objective, and while there are numerous issues involved, the play-calling is certainly one of them. The limited play menu, the lack of discipline within those plays, all are contributing factors in these poor showings.

The Steelers don’t exactly have some offensive guru in-house waiting in the wings, so if Canada were to be stripped of some responsibilities, it would be divided up among others, such as quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan and perhaps running backs coach Eddie Faulkner, whom Tomlin has often praised for his football mind.

Patience, for those who have any left, is running perilously thin for Canada as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator, even if this is only his second season in that role (and third overall; he was quarterbacks coach in 2020). Unless the offense starts producing significantly better, it’s hard to see Tomlin not making some type of adjustment after the bye week.

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