In the three weeks since the much-needed bye week for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the much-maligned offense under second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada has made real progress overall.
From establishing a run game that has been borderline dominant at times, to taking care of the football in the passing game while taking shots down the field, Pittsburgh’s offense under Canada in the last three weeks has looked like an actual NFL offense.
Putting up 20, 30, and 24 points in the last three weeks is nothing to scoff at for the Steelers’ offense, considering where they were before the bye week. Still, there’s a long way to go.
Speaking with reporters Thursday during his weekly session, Canada stated that he’s pleased with the direction the offense is heading, but still acknowledged that there’s a long way to go to get where they want to be. That said, progress is important and that is what’s occurring in Pittsburgh in bunches on the offensive side of the football.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction. Obviously we’re not nowhere near a finished product. We’re still leaving some points out there, leaving some plays out there,” Canada stated to reporters Tuesday, according to video via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Chris Adamski on Twitter. “Obviously we’re working and evolving to try and minimize those. But as a general trend, I have to say we’re running the ball better, doing some things better which is opening up some other options in the passing game, so I think we’re trending. We’ve got a long, long way to go obviously. We’ve got to win a lot more games, but we’re moving the right way.
“We’ve made some progress the last couple weeks.”
For as much criticism Canada receives — and rightfully so — he deserves some credit for the improvement the offense has made since the bye week. That week off allowed the Steelers to self scout and reassess what was working and what wasn’t offensively, and they’ve made the necessary changes on the field, sticking with what’s working.
That includes running the football, utilizing the middle of the field more in the passing game and taking some shorts vertically to keep teams honest. It also helps that rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett hasn’t turned the football over in three weeks.
With a consistent, reliable rushing attack, the Steelers have been able to set things up in the passing game. It all goes hand in hand, and it’s working nicely overall the last three weeks.
Of course, Canada still makes some head-scratching decisions in the booth, like continuing to run on second and long, but overall with the Steelers not turning the football over and guys like Pickett, Najee Harris and the offensive line in general playing better and better, the offense is progressing forward as expected this time of year.