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Matt Canada Reveals Why Steelers Struggle With Deep Ball



Steelers OC Matt Canada Najee Harris

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers do not really have a deep passing attack. Sure, they have attempted a few of those balls, but only George Pickens has caught most of the targets thrown his way 20 or more yards down the field. All in all, the Steelers have been unable to win over the top of the defense to create explosive plays.

So, what gives? Why is the deep passing game so hard to get going right now? Offensive coordinator Matt Canada has a few reasons why that is the case through the first seven games of the season.

“If you look at that game, the third play of the game, we had an opportunity for one, they pressed us right, had a matchup we wanted; didn’t connect,” Canada said. “We had one on the fifth play of the game with Chase [Claypool], had them pressed up; didn’t get it. After that, if you look and you find a spot where they did it again, they were soft. Again, we’ve got George [Pickens] down the field where they were really soft. Opportunities for those plays come throughout a game for everybody. Everybody’s got great talent. We’ve got to execute it at the right time.”

In other words, the Steelers had plays drawn up to connect on those plays, and they simply did not execute the deep passing game. Sure, part of that issue is that Kenny Pickett and the other receivers probably do not have the crisp connection that Mitch Trubisky may have with some of the receivers. But in general, it never seems like everything just locks together on these passes.

Somehow, someway, the Steelers mess up the deep passing game most of the time. It could be a bad throw, it could be an ugly release, and it could even be a really good throw that the receiver just does not finish at the catch point. Regardless, Pittsburgh’s lack of a deep passing game has hurt the team. With the offense lacking any semblance of life, the deep passing game could be the answer to breaking the proverbial dam. But Canada is still not sure how they will be able to break through just yet.

“I don’t have a great answer,” Canada said. “I would say I think as I continue to try to give Kenny confidence in that, if you think about the situation that we’re in, Mitch [Trubisky] was our No. 1 all through camp, Diontae was in for a while and got hurt, Chase got hurt, Pat got hurt, but all those reps when they did go were with Mitch. Now Kenny is going and you’re starting to see those connections start to come.”

Regardless, it seems that between communication issues and overall inconsistencies on the team, Matt Canada has his work cut out for him as the Steelers face one of the best secondaries in the NFL in the Philadelphia Eagles. This will be a tough test for Pickett and the deep passing game, and Darius Slay and James Bradberry will do all they can to stop the engine from turning on.