Twenty-four games into his tenure as the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers, things have not gone well — at all — for Matt Canada.
From the inability to put together a consistent game plan in the final season of Ben Roethlisberger’s career in 2021, which ultimately resulted in Roethlisberger taking over games late on his own to lead the Steelers to a winning record and a playoff appearance, to the frustrating start to the 2022 season that has already resulted in a quarterback change, Canada appears to be in a bit over his head, at least on the field.
The noise regarding the second-year offensive coordinator is growing louder and louder the more and more the Steelers’ offense struggles. Ahead of the Week 8 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles on the road, and with a much-needed bye after it, the noise regarding Canada and the calling for his job has become deafening.
Like many coaches and players before him, Canada has tried to block out the noise and focus on the task ahead, but he’s heard the comments, read the stories and heard the questions head coach Mike Tomlin has been asked all season long. Speaking with reporters Thursday ahead of the matchup with the Eagles, Canada stated that he’s not naive to the situation and what’s going on outside of him.
That said, he knows the type of position he holds, and he feels fortunate to hold it, adding that it’s a process with a young offense and that things are going to start coming together the more and more the group works with each other – or so he believes.
“I’ve got a family, I have people that care about me, so I’m not naive to it [criticism],” Canada stated to reporters Thursday, according to video via Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I have a job that everybody talks about. I wouldn’t want to have any other job. I’m not happy with our production, not happy with where we are. I think Coach does a great job going back a few weeks, we’re going to stay the course, do what we do, we have young guys. It’s going to take some time.
“I said it last week and I’ve said it for three weeks, it’s not happening. Fast enough was the first week of the season, so until we get to where we need to get, it’s not fast enough. I appreciate that.”
It would be naive to think that Canada or anyone else wouldn’t hear the criticism regarding the job he is doing. That’s how loud the noise has been.
Since he took over as the offensive coordinator to open the 2021 season, the Steelers have just five first quarter touchdowns. We’re not talking first-quarter points. Simply touchdowns. That’s 24 games, five first-quarter touchdowns. One of the lowest marks in football.
Outside of that, the Steelers are averaging just over 14 points per game this season offensively, the worst number in the league. Things seem so difficult for the Canada-led offense, in terms of attacking downfield, scheming guys open and moving the football in general, at least compared to other offensive schemes in the league.
The attention cannot continue to be placed on the offense being a young group and needing to gel. It’s Week 8. The familiarity and comfort in the scheme should be there by now from many on the offense. Much of the focus needs to be on the man in the booth calling the plays, designing the concepts and creating the game plans.
Things are not going well, and time is running out on the Matt Canada experience not only in the NFL, but in the Steel City as well. The 2016 season with the Pitt Panthers was a long, long time ago. If he’s not naive to the criticism, he’s probably not naive to see the writing on the wall regarding his tenure, too.