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Saunders: Canada, Trubisky Providing More Questions, No Answers for Steelers Offense

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Steelers OC Matt Canada

The Pittsburgh Steelers spent most of their 2022 offseason attempting to determine who the franchise’s quarterback of the future will be after the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger in January.

So far, the Steelers haven’t found the answer to that question, and they’ve also found out they may not have the answer to who mans another important position on their offense long-term, either.

So far, most of the outrage at the sorry state of the Steelers’ offense has been directed at offensive coordinator Matt Canada and starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

Most of that outrage is probably unfounded, as the Steelers have used an intentionally conservative game plan that has limited both, and Trubisky, while not sharp, has not been the reason the offense hasn’t worked. But neither has shown any hope of the being the reason the offense does work, either.

Canada was something of a boom-or-bust selection at offensive coordinator, out of character for the Steelers. Noted as something of a play-designing savant in collegiate stops at Wisconsin, NC State and Pitt, Canada did well in some places in his career (like Pitt and Maryland) and awfully in others (like LSU). Either way, he never seemed to stick around for very long.

The hope was that Canada’s scheme would help the Steelers overcome what was going to be a positional weakness at quarterback after Roethlisberger. That hasn’t happened, and if it was going to, it probably would have by now. 

Canada isn’t the source of all of the problems of the offense, but it’s pretty clear that the idea behind his hiring has failed. The Steelers are a team without a star quarterback that looks like a team without a star quarterback.

The Steelers should probably be lauded for looking outside the box for a creative solution to a difficult problem, but at the end of the day, it seems clear they’re going to be in the market for an offensive coordinator again sooner, rather than later.

Similarly, Trubisky is far from the only issue with the offense, and many of the things that have gone wrong have other sources of problems. But it’s just as clear as it is with Canada, that he’s not ever going to be the primary reason this team wins a lot of football games.

Again, Trubisky was a gamble worth taking. The former No. 2 overall pick has plenty of talent, and a year in Buffalo did wonders for Josh Allen, so it was fair to suspect that it might have helped Trubisky, as well. But so far, he’s just been a hair to slow, too inconsistent and just not dynamic enough of a playmaker to see a long-term future for him in the spot he currently holds, even if he has the support of the locker room.

The similarity between the Canada and Trubisky situations continues because of the situation the team is in. The Steelers have looked absolutely awful at times through their first three games, but are just one game back in the AFC North and play the New York Jets at home this week. Yes, the schedule gets tougher going forward, but the team should suspect that enough improvement to rescue the 2022 is possible just by carrying on with the status quo.

Until that changes, expect the team to continue down the current path, even if it involves leaning heavily on individuals that no one thinks are pieces of the long-term puzzle.

The long-term choice at quarterback is clear, with first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett waiting in the wings. There’s next to no clarity on what the next option at offensive coordinator might be. Quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan has been one twice before to mixed results. No one else on the offensive staff appears to be a legitimate option.

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