The Steelers came out of their game against the Cincinnati Bengals feeling better about the offense after firing Matt Canada. One of the main reasons they likely felt that way is because of the play of Kenny Pickett, who may have had his best game as an NFL player.
Running back Jaylen Warren detailed the key differences between the Canada offense and the one that took the field on Sunday against the Bengals. The big change was spreading the ball around, including taking shots down the field to open up the aerial attack.
“More communication and more, I don’t know how to say this without being too explicit, but more willingness to take shots. Taking more risks,” Warren said on the difference between the new offense from Matt Canada’s offense.
But the fact they fired Canada is still a surprise to many, including former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was naturally surprised the team made the move in the first place. Appearing on WDVE, Roethlisberger dished his thoughts on the firing, and more than anything, he was simply surprised it happened.
“Well, I was surprised,” Roethlisberger said. “Very unlike them. I didn’t expect it midseason like that. Very uncharacteristic.”
On Monday, Pro Football Network insider Adam Caplan revealed the reasoning he heard as to why the Steelers ultimately moved on, and it was because of the alarming regression that had hit Kenny Pickett after what many thought was a great offseason for him.
“Pro Football Network talked to multiple league sources who have graded the Steelers’ offensive tape this season and cited the following issues with Canada’s offensive scheme: too many college concepts, poor spacing created, lack of an intermediate passing game, and lack of identity. But even with those issues, the biggest problem was the lack of development from second-year QB Kenny Pickett, who team sources said had “an outstanding offseason.” But once the season started, sources said from game-tape evaluation that Pickett’s arm-strength issue returned, and he wasn’t “driving the ball down the field” and “he wasn’t playing with a lot of confidence,” Caplan wrote.
That is not surprising. The Steelers gained 400 yards for the first time this season and for the first time since 2020, and quarterback Kenny Pickett posted the second-highest single-game passer rating of his career at 97.8; they still have much to accomplish, especially in the red zone. But regardless, they looked much better and it seems that move might just pay off.