PITTSBURGH — Canada has annexed some additional territory. Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada spent game days in the booth during his first 41 regular season games as the team’s playcaller.
Thursday Night against the Tennessee Titans, he laid claim to the sideline for the first time in his NFL career.
The Steelers won 20-16, beating the Titans on another fourth-quarter comeback. It wasn’t exactly a sparking offensive performance. The Steelers racked up 326 total yards, but scored just 20 points thanks to a couple of drives that failed in the red zone.
Still, the game felt like a step forward for the offense, so it appears that Canada’s tenure on the sideline will be extended.
“We’re making moves with the intention of being better, so we’ll see as we move forward,” head coach Mike Tomlin said.
For the players, how much Canada’s presence on the sideline meant depended on the position group. For quarterback Kenny Pickett, he downplayed the import, noting that he and Canada communicate extensively through his helmet radio, no matter where he is. But that might not be the case for everyone.
“We communicate really well with the headset,” Pickett said. “No one else really gets a chance to do that with him. So I think him being able to go over to each position group and kind of get on the same page with them and let them know what we’re thinking going into each drive, I definitely think it was a positive.”
Diontae Johnson said it was a bonus to be able to talk with his coordinator in between series.
“Just trying to find a spark, see what he sees out there differently as opposed to being up top,” he said. “That gives him more time to talk to Kenny and see what they see out there, little stuff like that.”
So for now, expect Canada to keep his new station as the team tries to build from their win over the Titans.