It is no secret that the Pittsburgh Steelers are struggling offensively. For the last several seasons, the team’s philosophy appears to have shifted towards a defensive mindset with keeping games low-scoring. Needless to say, this strategy does not appear to be successful this season, as the team is sitting at 1-4. Second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada was asked an important question on potential ways to resolve the team’s offensive struggles in a Thursday press conference according to a transcript provided by the team.
“We have to do a little bit of both,” Canada said when asked if the offensive struggles can be fixed by executing better or calling different plays. “We’ve got to do what we do better when we talk about going back to the question. We can sit here and say, ‘What is it? What is it?’ Well, it’s obviously something we’ve all got to find. All of us. We’re not coaching well enough, we’re not playing well enough, we’re not getting the results that we want.”
There is no shortage of statistics to highlight the extent of the Steelers’ offensive struggles. While a change in quarterback from Ben Roethlisberger to Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett was expected to make a change, this has not been the case, as the offense arguably declined. In 2021, the struggles were attributed to poor play from the offensive line. After an offseason of investing in the group, the Steelers’ 2022 offensive line is ranked above average in pass-blocking, and around average in run blocking by both ESPN and Pro Football Focus. Still, the offensive struggles are as prevalent as ever.
This further raises the question of whether the struggles are a result of poor play calling or execution, which Canada suggested is a mix of both. Many have pointed to Canada’s predictable play calling as a cause for the team’s offensive struggles.
After all, the team’s offensive personnel arguably improved since 2021. From a viable backup running back in Jaylen Warren to a deeper receiver core and improved offensive line, this is simply a better unit than 2021. Not to mention, players have been vocal about their disdain with Canada’s play calling.
With all of that being said, there have been a fair share of struggles by the Steelers’ offensive unit. The receiver group has been underwhelming, not catching a single touchdown after five games. Diontae Johnson is arguably not playing like a top receiver with several key drops, and Chase Claypool has not taken the next step that the team is vying for him to take. Moreover, running back Najee Harris, who only recently declared himself as 100%, appeared to be struggling from his training camp Lisfranc injury.
Canada, who recently received an endorsement from head coach Mike Tomlin, is likely here to stay for at least this season. The team is preparing to face quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a tough matchup that will likely require a great offensive effort to remain competitive.