Steelers’ President Art Rooney II Explains Why Team Kept OC Matt Canada

The Art Rooney bat signal has gone up. In his yearly offseason meeting with reporters, Rooney explains why the team decided to retain offensive coordinator Matt Canada for the 2023 season. Rooney told local beat writers the Steelers’ improved second half of the season and the goal of keeping continuity with quarterback Kenny Pickett were the main reasons why he returned.

Here’s what Rooney told reporters as tweeted out by The Trib’s Joe Rutter.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac added more from Rooney, including this quote.

“They seemed to work well together,” Rooney told Dulac of the Canada/Pickett relationship. “With a new offensive coordinator, you’d start all over again. We felt there was enough there to build on.”

We’ll hopefully have complete quotes from Rooney later on in the day, especially as he begins to make the media rounds.

Nothing he says here should come as a surprise. The Steelers went 7-2 the second half of the season and nearly made the playoffs, falling just shy of getting all the help they needed in Week 18. Pittsburgh’s offense still wasn’t spectacular, held under 20 points in four of their final six games, but the offense certainly found more cohesion and a clearer identity to win. They focused on and improved their run game, took more off Pickett’s plate, and played ball control offense that converted on third down and kept the opposing quarterback off the field.

Continuity also played a predictable role. With an offense almost entirely returning for 2023, the Steelers opted against making waves by making a change at offensive coordinator. Even the best hire likely would’ve produced short-term growing pains as the offense adjusted to a new system, scheme, and verbiage. For a team who dealt with massive growing pains throughout the first half of 2022, it’s obvious the organization didn’t want to go through with that again. However, the concern is the sake of continuity outweighing what could truly be best for the team. If Canada and the Steelers’ offense doesn’t make serious improvements in 2023, Canada likely won’t return in 2024 – his contract expires after this upcoming season – and the Steelers will be starting over an additional year into Pickett’s career.

Largely speaking, Pittsburgh seems to be using their 7-2 finish to justify making few changes in the offseason. The coaching staff is largely coming back, only Brian Flores is at risk of leaving, while the offensive personnel won’t see many losses or subtractions. Defensively, there could be a few changes but the core players are all returning.

As we wrote about shortly after the team confirmed Canada will return, all that continuity will lead to greater expectations. There’s no more time for excuses or patient. The coaching staff is set. The personnel is largely set. Now the offense must produce.

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