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Mike Tomlin Says Matt Canada ‘Got Better’ Throughout The Year, Declines To Answer If He’ll Be OC In 2023

As we wrote about this morning, the first order of business the Pittsburgh Steelers have to make is a decision on their polarizing offensive coordinator. Will Matt Canada return in 2023 or will the Steelers have a new offensive coordinator? During his year-end press conference, Mike Tomlin declined to offer an answer on Canada’s future status but credited the job he did to improve as the year went along.

“I thought he got better just like our team got better,” Tomlin said via the team’s YouTube channel. “I’m not going to speculate about him or anyone as I stand here today…I’m just beginning the process of transitioning and wrapping a bow around it and seeing what 2023 looks like. I’m just not there. We’ve got some work to do. but largely, I thought he got better in the ways we got better. So it was encouraging.”

Pittsburgh’s offense looked among the worst in football through the first half of the year. One reason for their 2-6 start was a total lack of points, far too many turnovers, and a run game that stalled. But things did improve the back half of the year as the offense found its identity through its run game, averaging over 11 rushes more game while Pittsburgh put up slightly more points on the board, though scoring remained an issue. The Steelers finished the year 26th in points per game, down from 21st in 2021.

Canada was criticized for having too simplistic of an offense while players took implied shots at the way Canada was using him and running the offense. It’s unknown if Canada is under contract through 2023. If he is, it’s rare for the Steelers to fire coordinators under those circumstances, it hasn’t happened since 2003, but this is a new regime with Omar Khan and Andy Weidl who could push for a different approach.

Tomlin’s stuck by Canada throughout the year, showing confidence in him even as the offense struggled and choosing not to fire him despite a prime chance to do so after the bye following the Steelers’ 35-13 blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Should the team move on from Canada, QBs Coach Mike Sullivan would be a top internal candidate. That’d keep continuity for QB Kenny Pickett as he enters his sophomore season. But the team could also look outside the organization and change strategies after the uninspiring promotions of Randy Fichtner and then Canada.

As Tomlin noted in his presser, the Steelers move slower to make changes than most other teams so a decision on Canada probably won’t come until later in the week.

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