Monday, as the Pittsburgh Steelers pivoted to their offseason, we pivoted to Matt Canada watch. Will he stay or will he go? That’s the question.
While the jury still seems to be out, the team’s made no announcement, Friday was a key date. If they were going to fire him, a Friday afternoon news dump heading into a jam-packed Wild Card weekend would seem like the day to do it. Knowing that, I’m shifting to the assumption that Canada will be the Steelers’ offensive coordinator in 2023.
I know your pitchforks are ready.
Evidently, what Canada and the Steelers’ offense did the back half of the season was enough to save his job. Finding an identity. Establishing the run. Above all, winning games. In fairness to him, I didn’t come away as frustrated or griping about Canada’s calls or scheme. Players stopped venting their frustration and taking shots at him through the media, more proof that winning cures all.
Even with a new regime, the Steelers’ old habits die hard. With Canada purportedly under contract next year, it was logical to assume he was going to be kept. Right or wrong, Pittsburgh doesn’t fire coordinators. Maybe they don’t want to admit a mistake. Maybe they’re stubborn like that. Maybe they don’t want to have money tied up in coaches no longer part of the organization. Whatever the reason, the last coordinator to be fired was DC Tim Lewis following the 2003 season, a streak that seems likely to continue 20 years later.
Continuity may have been another factor. Pittsburgh not wanting to rock the boat with a rookie quarterback and a young offense that just went through serious growing pains the first half of the year. Though they’re experienced and better for it, a new OC with his own offense, philosophy and verbiage would be something for this group to overcome. It would slow them down. That’s part of the calculation, Tomlin and company not wanting this offense to take two steps forward and one step back, using the first month of next season to figure out life under a new coordinator. Not to mention having their franchise, first round quarterback with his third coordinator in three years if you count his final year at Pitt.
Those reasons are debatable, I don’t subscribe to the idea, but that’s likely going into the equation of ostensibly keeping Canada. If the offense continues to improve in 2023, holding onto him will look like the right idea. If they don’t, or don’t improve enough, then he’ll be met with the “parting of the ways” the Steelers do when contracts expire like Canada’s will next offseason.
Monday is the final day that Canada could reasonably be fired. Anything later than that just seems like bad business. Perhaps Mike Tomlin will take the rest of the weekend, finish exit interviews, sleep on it, and decide to can Canada. But the odds now seem like the Steelers won’t be voluntarily making any coaching staff changes, running back the crew they had in 2023, and hope they can pick up where they left off, a 7-2 finish, and get into the playoffs next year.