Matt Canada has drawn the ire of Steelers fans for poor play around the offense for the past three seasons. However, this third season has seemingly had the team hit rock bottom, where the offense can hardly ever reach the red zone and relies more upon the defense to create scores rather than picking up that unit and scoring points.
It has all come to a head as ‘Fire Canada’ chants have spread across Pittsburgh sporting events, even showing up at the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. However, the hate has not stopped here. Former NFL scout John Middlekauff, who hosts the Three and Out podcast on The Volume, broke down his issues with Canada and the offense. He wants to see Kenny Pickett on the move more, while Canada needs to get something going that allows the team to have sustainable drives.
“Here’s the thing, if I’m a Steelers, I understand what good offenses are supposed to look like,” Middlekauff said. “Like, if I’m a Steelers fan, I lived through Todd Haley. We can nitpick him all we want, but his offenses were explosive. Before that, you had Bruce Arians. The owners got made he didn’t run the ball enough, but those offenses were explosive.
You see, what Matt Canada is doing ain’t working. We can nitpick the play calls all you want, but this is a production-based business….your quarterback is limited, but I was saying the same thing about Jordan Love the other night. Get him on the move. Stop asking him to play like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. This guy is very athletic. Get him on the move, and turn the field into halves. Give him two reads, and if not, run. You can simplify stuff and improve.”
Middlekauff says the Steelers are lucky that their defense can score enough while the offense has enough talent to pull explosive plays out of a hat. But something has to give for Middlekauff to buy into the Steelers as a significant contender, given the unit’s struggles over the first five games of the season.
Pittsburgh is averaging just 15.8 points per game. Of course, that includes the defensive touchdowns. Nothing will work until the team can find a rhythm offensively that allows the talent to pop along with the play-calling. It’s not an easy fix, either. The innate scheme is not good enough. But the team has to find the magic juice they had at the end of last season, where the team turned into one of the best-rushing offenses in the NFL. If they can find some of that formula that allows them to sustain drives at least the team does have a chance to make some noise, even if they will never be the type of team that can win a shootout.