Kenny Pickett Is ‘Excited To Continue To Work With’ Matt Canada To Make Jump In 2023

After initially struggling at 2-6 and with rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett struggling with moving the ball and turnovers, the Steelers’ season looked bleak. However, they turned things around in the second half of the season, with Pickett becoming more comfortable and limiting turnovers while the run game picked up. Still, the offense wasn’t good enough in 2022, and on Cameron Heyward’s Not Just Football podcast, Pickett said the offense has to be better in 2023 and he believes that offensive coordinator Matt Canada is working to make that happen.

“I think we really caught stride after that bye week. We figured out what it’s gonna take for us to win and what that recipe looks like. So we could continue to grow as a team, as an offense. But we just need to take that jump into year two. And he’s doing a great job trying to figure out what we need to do to get those and put up some more points. So I’m excited to continue to work with him this offseason,” Pickett said.

Obviously, Canada’s status hasn’t been clarified and there’s a chance he doesn’t return next year. But operating under the assumption that Canada does return, the offense has to be better. This year, the Steelers only put up 30 points once, in a losing effort against the Cincinnati Bengals. While the team won games in the second half of the season, they leaned on the run game and the ability to chew up time of possession. While Pickett led two game-winning drives in the final weeks of the season, the team lacked explosiveness, as evidenced by their 52 explosive plays which ranked 27th in the NFL.

Pickett has to take more shots downfield and a lot of that has to do with the game planning and scheme. He needs to have multiple looks downfield, and that’s on Canada to scheme up. As a rookie, you can’t blame Pickett for being conservative especially as he struggled with turnovers early in the year. But at some point, he’s going to need to push the ball downfield. When he did, particularly on his game-winning drive against the Ravens, things looked good. It just needs to happen with more regularity.

If Canada isn’t back, getting an offensive coordinator who isn’t afraid to let Pickett air it out should be a priority. If Canada is back, he needs to take the training wheels off Pickett and let him run a legitimate NFL offense. If the Steelers want to make the playoffs, the offense will need to be better, and letting Pickett air it out is an important step towards that being the case.

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