Continuity Between Matt Canada And Kenny Pickett ‘Significant’ Heading Into Year 2, Tomlin Says

Much to the dismay of many fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team decided to retain offensive coordinator Matt Canada for 2023. Though the offense showed promising signs in the second half of the 2022 season, particularly in the run game, the two years Canada has spent as offensive coordinator has left plenty to be desired given the team’s talent. According to the team’s owner Art Rooney II back in late January, the team wanted to have a sense of continuity for 2022 first-round pick Kenny Pickett.

On Sunday, head coach Mike Tomlin backed this sentiment at the NFL League Meetings in Phoenix, as he told reporters, including Brooke Pryor of ESPN, that the continuity of Canada and Pickett could be “significant” in 2023.

“I think it’s reasonable for that to be significant,” Tomlin said about Pickett’s familiarity and continuity with the scheme heading into 2023. “But we’ll have an opportunity to make it so,” he said via an article by Pryor on

If Pickett’s familiarity with the scheme allows for progressions in play-calling in 2023, it can only be a good thing. The team’s play-calling was limited last season, so much so that tight end Pat Friermuth revealed the team didn’t have hot routes last season. If Pickett is able to mature and grow and become more familiar in Canada’s system, then it’s reasonable to expect the Steelers’ offense to be better in 2023.

Continuity is certainly significant in a young quarterback’s development, especially when it’s one the team invested a first-round pick on. In recent history, many young quarterbacks struggled due to the burden of constant change in personnel. The college-to-NFL learning curve is not an easy one, especially at the quarterback position. Under Canada, Pickett caught a stride in the second half of his rookie season, and it makes sense for the team to want that progress to continue under the same system.

On the other hand, continuity for continuity’s sake may not be optimal for Pickett and the team. It is hard to argue that Canada’s two years tenure prompts another chance, especially given the team’s ample talent at skills positions. Arguably, the offense did not get the most out of Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, and others. For Pickett, a new regime may not have been the worst thing in the world if they could maximize the weapons around him and bring out more of his talent.

There are examples of young quarterbacks thriving despite constant change. For one, Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert continued his strides despite the departure of his quarterback coach and changes at offensive coordinator. However, there are also examples of the contrary, as some quarterbacks see multiple offensive coordinators and head coaches during their rookie contracts. For now, Pickett’s development in 2022 arguably prompted one more shot for Canada.

Canada’s third year will be telling. His first season saw a relationship with veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that just didn’t fit what Canada wanted to do, while his second one saw a slow first half of the season with questionable play-calling. With much of the same offensive personnel returning for 2023, Canada will have a chance to implement his offensive with continuity. If Pickett continues to develop, it’s easy to imagine the team retaining Canada. Otherwise, his days in Pittsburgh are limited.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!