PITTSBURGH, PA — Matt Canada firmly insists the Pittsburgh Steelers offense he’s entrusted with running is close to breaking out.
Even as the weeks pass and the losses install. Even as drives continuously stall in essential scenarios.
“This is going to be a tremendous offense,” Canada said Thursday.
May be time to begin revealing it. May be previous time, really, for Pittsburgh’s embattled second-year offending planner.
Canada is aware of the crucible he discovers himself in with the Steelers (2-5) near the bottom of the NFL in almost every substantial analytical offending classification, from scoring (31st) to lawns (30th) to goals (30th).
He’s paid to discover a way to get Pittsburgh into the end zone. It’s not taking place, and frustration is growing both inside and outside the Steelers locker room.
Wide receiver Chase Claypool wants the opportunity to make plays downfield. George Pickens and Diontae Johnson too. Exact same for rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, who has yet to finish a pass of 40 yards or more.
The running video game remains in the very same position. The Steelers have yet to have a run of 20 backyards through 7 video games. The list of gamers throughout the league that have at least 2 runs of a minimum of 20 lawns consists of quarterbacks Justin Fields, Daniel Jones, Josh Allen, Jacoby Brissett and pass receiver Braxton Berrios.
The numbers are unsightly. So is the state of mind. Externally a minimum of. Type “Matt Canada” into the social networks platform of your option and the anger of a fanbase who invested 18 years enjoying Ben Roethlisberger toss 418 goals is palpable.
While Canada is doing his finest to prevent it, he confessed he’s not “ignorant” to the ever-increasing external criticism.
“I have a job that everybody talks about and I wouldn’t want to have any other type,” Canada said. “And I’m not happy with our production. I’m not happy with where we are, but I certainly believe in the course.”
So there are no strategies to explode a plan that’s heavy on misdirection and– to this point anyhow– light on outcomes.
“Obviously, it’s all me,” Canada said. “I’ll take all the bad stuff.”
Even if the strategy are, to hear Canada inform it, a collective effort that consists of the position coaches and head coach Mike Tomlin.
As irritated as Canada is, he indicated Tomlin’s leadership as one of the factors he isn’t thinking about upgrading the playbook.
“If you change your message every week, if you do something different every week, you never get any better,” Canada said.
And Canada firmly insists the Steelers are enhancing. That Pickett is taking an advance as he gets more experience. That running back Najee Harris is ever closer to breaking out. That a play here or a play there– and more notably, a win here or a win there– is not far off.
To Canada and the gamers he coaches, the scoreboard is stating something. The video game movie is stating another. The concern isn’t the play-calling as much as the play execution.
One missed out on block, one turn the incorrect method, one ill-timed charge and momentum can disappear, something that’s taken place far frequently for an offense that doesn’t have a starter older than 26.
“We’ve made a lot of mistakes over the past couple of weeks, mistakes that are unacceptable,” said backup wide receiver Miles Boykin, one of the most experienced players in an extremely young skill position group. “That’s not on anybody else besides us.”
On the surface area, what the Steelers are doing on a weekly basis is the meaning of madness. Boykin firmly insists that it’s not. The problem isn’t what takes place when Canada scans his call sheet, it’s what occurs as soon as the ball is snapped.
“We can keep doing the same things over and over again, but if we don’t do it right, then it’s not gonna make a difference no matter what, right?” Boykin said. “I think that’s where we’re at right now.”
This is barely the very first time in Canada’s profession he’s discovered himself in a tight area. He invested one horrible season as the offending organizer at LSU in 2017. In 2018 he discovered himself thrust into the unenviable position of interim head coach at Maryland after D.J. Durkin was suspended in August prior to being fired on Halloween.
He took a year off prior to being worked with by the Steelers in 2020 to work as quarterbacks coach, where his task was to coach backups Mason Rudolph and Josh Dobbs. Tomlin promoted him to offending planner in January 2021 quickly after Randy Fichtner was release. Canada invested last season attempting to look for commonalities with Roethlisberger.
The idea was Roethlisberger’s retirement integrated with the arrival of the more mobile Pickett and Mitch Trubisky would permit Canada to totally carry out an offense that– sometimes throughout his 20-plus years in training– has actually been vibrant.
It hasn’t happened. And while Pickett’s future in Pittsburgh is assured. Canada’s is not. Progress likely needs to happen sooner rather than later.
And nobody understands that much better than Canada.
“All you can do is just keep fighting and keep pushing,” he said, “and wait for the dam to break.”