Steelers News

Matt Canada, Kenny Pickett Dynamic ‘Seems To Be Gelling’, Ben Roethlisberger Believes

The question of the future of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense and who will manage it is one that is going to dominate the conversation, at least in the early portions of the offseason. It’s quite possible that we may hear something soon if the team does decide to fire Matt Canada as offensive coordinator, but it’s hard to argue that the smart money is there right now.

Even perceived ‘adversaries’ of the past such as former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger have chimed in on the second-year coordinator. Now co-host of the Footbahlin podcast, he weighed in on Canada and the rapport he is developing with 2022 first-round quarterback Kenny Pickett.

“I thought they’ve really moved the ball down the field a lot”, he said during the most recent episode, noting some extended drives, particularly early in the game, and the ability to score late when they have needed it.

“I think it’s just been really good. I think that that dynamic of Matt Canada calling plays and Kenny maybe feeling good about it, running the ball or whatever, it just seems to be gelling right now”, he added. “I think it’s just something that they can grow on. I keep saying it, but I just think it’s important”.

Canada was Roethlisberger’s final offensive coordinator, who succeeded the quarterback’s good friend, Randy Fichtner. He had several offensive coordinators throughout his career, but there has been wide speculation that he had less-than-ideal relationships with two: Todd Haley and Canada.

The latter was first hired in 2020 to be the team’s quarterbacks coach, a role the team never bothered to fill with a separate coach when Fichtner, who was previously the quarterbacks coach, was promoted to offensive coordinator a few years earlier.

After Fichtner’s contract was not renewed in 2020, Canada got the promotion in 2021. An NFL novice, he did have extensive experience as a play-caller at the college level. During an unplanned hiatus in 2019, he even fielded requests from NFL teams who sought him for ideas about how to translate college concepts into their offense.

That’s what many feel Canada has done in Pittsburgh, but not entirely successfully. Future Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Smith, now a commentator, has commented on the coordinator a couple of times recently, stating that his offense is too “Saturday” for the NFL—that is, too college.

If it does indeed come to pass that Canada remains with the Steelers in 2023, then he is going to have to find a way to grow with this offense while he helps to bring it further along, because neither is currently where the other needs it to be.

There was progress made over the course of the year, in what many perceived as the first real year of him employing his own concepts and ideas, but it felt rather limited. Does he have more up his sleeve as his young offense matures?

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