2023 Offseason Questions: Do You Buy Rooney’s Explanation For Keeping Canada?

The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead, they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.

On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.

Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answering, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.

Question: Do you buy Art Rooney II’s explanation for retaining Matt Canada as offensive coordinator?

In case there was still any lingering uncertainty in the minds of some, Steelers owner Art Rooney II made it very clear yesterday that the team would be retaining Matt Canada as their offensive coordinator in 2023. He said that his contract status had nothing to do with it, but he didn’t want to disrupt the progression of quarterback Kenny Pickett.

Pickett played much better in the second half of the season, particularly in terms of keeping drives ahead of the chains, converting on possession downs, and protecting the football. The scoring aspect still needs a lot of work, something Rooney readily admitted, but he was open to keeping Canada as being in their best interests in that regard.

Many fans floated out names like Frank Reich as a potential offensive coordinator, but the problem with names like that is just what we saw: they’re not long for the job. Reich wasn’t even out of a head coaching position for a full season.

The only way you’re going to land a guy like that as your offensive coordinator is if you tell him under the table that you’re firing your head coach after the year and he’s your guy. And as much as many fans would want that, that was never going to happen in Pittsburgh. And if it did, you’d still need another new offensive coordinator…

But that doesn’t mean fans have to buy what Rooney was selling. Do you? I don’t think there needs to be judgement for either those who do or those who don’t. We don’t know how this is going to play out. Pickett is very early in his career, and there are things that he can better focus on by remaining in the same system for more than a year.

At the same time, if Canada’s system is not a long-term answer, then you’re delaying the inevitable for a short-term goal. Are there things that Pickett can only learn in his second season? Well, that’s more of an organizational stability question, I think, and the Steelers have that. One thing Pickett will get is the chance to develop.

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