Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada has taken heat for his offense’s struggles. That heat has come from fans, with numerous ‘Fire Matt Canada’ chants breaking out. More than that, analysts and former NFL players have called Canada’s offense subpar. But the latest is Costner 49ers, Chiefs, and Commanders quarterback Alex Smith. On ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, Smith gave his thoughts, and to say the least, his views were not pretty on Canada.
“I think the better question is what’s not wrong with this offense. I mean, it’s that bad,” Smith said. “It’s about as vanilla as it gets. They’re the anti-Miami Dolphins. They think that shifts, motions, and disguises are illegal. I mean, what you see is what you get. It’s so plain.”
Smith is not the only former NFL quarterback to call out Canada. In the preseason, former NFL quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan hammered into Canada for his basic designs. In the past, he has called the offense one of his least favorite offenses to watch because he finds it archaic. The two concepts he railed against were hank and spacing.
“So, Hank and Spacing to get us going? That’s what we’re doing, Steelers? I personally would struggle in an environment like this,” O’Sullivan said. “Now, I’m sure Mike Tomlin and Matt Canada could care less what I would do. But even as a fan of football, let me just say, there is so much better stuff than that… those two concepts shouldn’t even be in playbooks anymore. There’s just so much better stuff, yet we still see it every year, but for this team, this organization, I think they do it more than others. It is two middle fingers to the dropback passing evolution to what football is and what it should be now. It’s comedy and pain at the same time.”
Of course, if Canada and the Steelers’ offense struggle, it is hard to see him back after this year. They started to find some rhythm on Sunday. But that’s not going to be enough to put everything together. Smith is correct that the concepts, particularly the passing game, are poorly designed. Yet, Pittsburgh has to find a way to crack the code and get something going. The team needs to see more meaningful motion for those to matter. They run action, but teams do not respect the movement nearly at all. The team struggles in the run game with box counts and free rushers. Regardless, coming out of the bye week, they have to continue their second gear and find success just like they did last year. The team is in a better spot at 4-2 this year. If they can, this team should be in the playoffs.