Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s taken plenty of heat this season but QB Kenny Pickett praised the job he’s done and the relationship the two have. Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Pickett said Canada’s showed an open-mind and willingness to take in ideas from anyone.
“We have a really good relationship,” he said via Steelers.com. “We can talk about pretty much anything. We’re open and honest on what I see. He asks me all the time. That open line of communication, it’s just going to continue to improve. he’s very open to suggestions that we all have. As players, as staff, and it’s a collective effort. It’s definitely cool to have an OC that’s open to that and not close-minded. He has a pretty good relationship with all of us.”
It’s a relationship that dates back long before this season. Canada helped recruit Pickett to play for the Pitt Panthers. But the two never officially worked together, Canada leaving for the LSU job before Pickett’s freshman season. But the two reunited this year with the Steelers drafting him 20th overall. There’s no question the team’s familiarity with him, playing right next door along with what Canada knew about him, played a factor in the team drafting Pickett.
Canada has been criticized more than any other Steelers’ coach or player this season. A national pastime in Pittsburgh, fans have called for a change in coordinator. Some of that was justified and the first five weeks of the team’s season was a mess. Poor results, bad scheme, a disaster. But the scheme and gameplan has improved since then and the team’s recent woes are more the result of poor execution than they are schematics. No one will confuse the Steelers with the next Greatest Show on Turf and they still rank 28th in points per game, averaging fewer than they did during the messy 2019 season, but progress is progress. That applies to Pickett and it applies to Canada.
As we mused two weeks ago, Canada could return as the team’s OC in 2023. Since then, those odds have seemed to gone up and he may have a better than 50% chance of returning. Ostensibly under contract next season and with Pittsburgh’s offense finding traction, there’s reason to believe Canada will come back.
If that comes true, many fans won’t like the news. But from what he’s saying publicly, Pickett won’t seem to mind.