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Kenny Pickett Details Strong Relationship With Matt Canada: ‘He’s Great’



Steelers, Kenny PIckett, Matt Canada

PITTSBURGH — The quarterback and the offensive coordinator must bond for an offense to run effectively. Even if that bond is there, however, it does not guarantee that everything will be perfect. The Steelers are learning that as they go with the growing pains of Kenny Pickett with Matt Canada at the helm of the offense. However, as the rookie has continued to play, he has executed Canada’s vision much better, and the offense has vastly improved in many aspects.

Their relationship goes far back. Canada recruited Pickett to Pitt while he was the offensive coordinator for the team. Now, they have reunited in the pros, and that connection has sparked once again between the duo. It is a reason that Pickett is starting to settle in and feel comfortable.

“We really connected pretty early on when I was in high school,” Pickett said. “We got a really good relationship where we are open and he asks me all the time what I think. I think that communication is going to improve. He’s very open to suggestions we have as players, as a unit, and the rest of the staff. It’s a collective effort. It’s definitely cool to have an OC who is open to things like that. He’s great.”

The menu of items that Pickett has learned since he got the NFL is largely similar to the spread type of offense he ran with Mark Whipple. Not only that, but Canada has helped build upon certain concepts that he had in college. Now, Pickett is adjusting to under-center plays and more play action in that area. It compares favorably with the West Coast offenses that Pickett ran in college, but it is a more spread-out version of that.

“We do a lot more under center, play action stuff than I’ve done in previous years in college,” Pickett said. “That was the big thing for me. A lot of the concepts are very similar. It’s just the under-center, play action stuff that I had to get adjusted to really.”

Pickett’s relationship with Canada has afforded the rookie extra leverage in meetings, however. Canada has given Pickett the green light to point out anything he wants, and Pickett can change things as he sees fit as a result. For rookies, that type of control and influence is rare in an NFL offense, but being an older rookie with a built-in relationship, Kenny Pickett can buck that trend.

“I think so, 100 percent,” Pickett said. “It gives me confidence with what I see and what I feel. We can roll with it and if he disagrees he’ll show me on tape. It’s a great back and forth.”

As the speculation already begins around Canada’s job security for the 2023 season, his relative connection with Pickett and the growing success of the offense all work in his case to be brought back.

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