“We just gotta play better.” That’s the free space on the Matt Canada Bingo Card. An accurate statement, though painfully obvious, and one that’s been repeated every single week as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense trudge through their worst season in over 50 years.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Canada was asked to respond to Kenny Pickett’s “need to study more” comments made following Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
“We’ve got to play better,” he said as shared by The Trib’s Chris Adamski. “We can’t continue to make the same mistakes that we’ve made and hurt ourselves. I’ll continue to state until it’s fixed, it’s me.”
Pittsburgh played sloppy football in Week 8, committing eight first half penalties. Five of those came on offense, including two illegal formations, a delay of game, and (another) ineligible man downfield call. The latter is the team’s fifth this season, which leads the league. While the league may be cracking down on the call, nine teams haven’t been flagged for it once this season while more than half the league haven’t had more than one such call. The Steelers make it a near-weekly occurrence.
After another loss with poor offensive output, Pickett publicly called out the work habits of teammates, saying the group doesn’t study enough.
“Not detailed. Not detailed, guys need to know what they’re doing,” Pickett said after the Eagles’ game. “We need to study more. I don’t think we study enough as a group. There’s way too many penalties and stuff like that.”
Canada tried to sidestep Pickett’s concerns.
“Kenny, he’s speaking for himself. We gotta play better…we can’t make the same mistakes over and over. And I think that’s what he was speaking to.”
He may have been speaking for himself but he was certainly speaking to the group. And he’s not wrong. While Pickett himself isn’t absolved from mistakes, including mental ones, the entire offense is playing a brand of bland and sloppy football. On a good day, Pittsburgh’s offense is below average. On bad days riddled with penalties that backs the offense up, they have no chance.
The fact Canada spoke to reporters today is also an indication he will be the coach overseeing things the rest of the season. It’s Tuesday and the Steelers haven’t made a change at OC, signaling Canada will be with the team the rest of the season. There’s a chance the team could change roles without making a firing, they did so back in 2013 with OL Jack Bicknell Jr., having assistant Shaun Sarrett run the room while retaining Bicknell until after the season. For what it’s worth, QBs Coach Mike Sullivan spoke to reporters and said he hasn’t been told about anyone’s role shifting heading into the bye.
With all that said, Canada appears to be poised to captain this unit. Unfortunately, he’s currently manning the Titanic and will go down with the ship.