Many (myself included) had been calling for the Pittsburgh Steelers to make a change in attempt to breathe some life into the offense and fire OC Matt Canada by the bye week.
Well, that period has come and gone, and Canada remains the team’s offensive coordinator. Canada hadn’t been notified during the team’s few days of practice before being off Thursday-Sunday that any changes regarding his role with the team were coming, pointing to the fact that he is likely to remain Pittsburgh’s OC for at least the remainder of the 2022 season.
When looking at the situation under the microscope, firing Canada mid-season appeared to never be in the cards for the Steelers.
The fact of the matter is that the Pittsburgh Steelers went all-in on OC Matt Canada and weren’t in a position where firing him mid-season was a legitimate option. Just look at the offensive coaching staff and the emphasis HC Mike Tomlin and the Steelers organization put into surrounding Canada with “his guys”. RB Coach Eddie Faulkner coached with Canada at Northern Illinois (2011), Wisconsin (2012) and NC State (2013-2015). WR Coach Frisman Jackson was with Canada at NC State as well from 2013-2014.
Tomlin also grew close to Canada during his son Dino’s recruiting process as Canada offered Dino a scholarship. While Dino ended up transferring to Boston College the year after Canada left Maryland, Canada ended up getting the nod from Mike Tomlin and hired him to be Pittsburgh’s QB coach.
Tomlin has always been one to rely on relationships in terms making his staff and the evaluation process with draft prospects. That’s been the mantra for the Steelers as well, being a family-run organization by the Rooneys that have put a heavy emphasis on relationships with the players, coaches, and support staff. Thus, even though the Steelers currently rank dead last in the NFL in PPG (15.0) which is the worst mark in decades, Tomlin has been adamant that no coaching or coordinator changes were going to be considered with the questions almost certainly specified to the status of one Matt Canada.
The National Football League is built off relationships. Teams often flesh out their front office and coaching staffs with people that the general manager/head coach are familiar with and have a good working relationship with. That was the case for Tomlin and the decision to promote Canada from QB Coach to offensive coordinator, and by doing so surrounded him with several offensive coaches on staff that had worked under Canada in the past to give him a sense of familiarity to help him succeed.
The experiment backfired, and Pittsburgh is currently paying the price with an offense that seems to have no identity and no answers to try and sustain drives and score points. Still, Tomlin and the Steelers have decided to not make change for the sake of change, meaning that Canada will continue to lead this offense likely for the remainder of the 2022 season. After that, Pittsburgh will likely explore other options in terms of finding a new OC but will likely follow a similar process of Tomlin choosing a familiar face he feels comfortable with on his coaching staff.