The Pittsburgh Steelers must part with offensive coordinator Matt Canada for the good of Kenny Pickett.
Calling for a coach’s job or laying sole blame on a headset American, even one named Canada, is not part of my usual repertoire. Not in any sport. Not in any medium. However, there comes a time when the inescapable conclusion cannot be ignored, and the cascading results worsen the problems.
Colleague Alan Saunders disagrees. Here’s the other side of the Steelers debate.
When NFL quarterbacks tell 93-7 the Fan host Andrew Filliponi that calling the Steelers’ offense a high school offense would be offensive to high school offenses, when we see Pickett roll out but have only two targets and witness an overall offensive simplicity that allows even confused defenses to diagnose the plays, there is a problem.
The Steelers’ offense is plummeting. It brings down the defense.
Chase Claypool had to clarify that he wasn’t picking on Canada, but … he was.
“I just think we need more go balls,” Claypool said. “Like, damn. It’s not enough go-balls. We have playmakers. I haven’t had a go-ball all year. George (Pickens) needs more. (Diontae Johnson) needs more. I’m not saying that’s on the play-calling. I’m just saying we need to try to find a way to scheme it up.”
OK, scheme it up. Draw it in the dirt. Scream it down from the coach’s box for all to hear. Get it done.
The Steelers have three big-play wide receivers. Yet rarely go for big plays? They don’t maximize a quarterback who can make the throws (and is willing) and receivers who can make the catches.
Like driving a Ferrari back and forth through a school zone.
Generally, the notion that Ben Roethlisberger would make this team better is, at best, a stretch. The beloved QB was a statue by the end of his tenure and would have been painfully reminded of that this season. However, the one area in which Roethlisberger was adept was calling his own plays.
There’s a part of all of us that wants to see Pickett step to the line and start calling audibles. Instead of field mics picking up “Omaha, Omaha,” the great desire is to hear, “Screw it. Go, go!”
Instead, the Steelers’ tightly bound offense possesses the creativity of a network sitcom on the Friday night schedule. None of that can be good for Kenny Pickett.
It surely isn’t good for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Heaven helps them if they get to the red zone. The Steelers are in the bottom third of red zone offense this season and bottom six over the last three weeks.
An offense with a dozen plays camouflaged by few formations is for college, where Canada was somewhat prosperous. This is the NFL. Pickett is 24 years old. He can handle a few more plays with a few more options. If he can’t, he can watch Mitch Trubisky for a bit longer.
Surely the Steelers’ playbook has more than a few pages, but right now, it looks like it came with crayons. Multiple former NFL quarterbacks agree the offense looks overly simplistic. Some did so publicly, and some off the record.
The Steelers’ offense doesn’t have to be the second coming of Bill Walsh or even Andy Reid, but it has basic needs. By the way, JuJu Smith-Schuster said he learned more in a few months with Reid than in years with the Steelers. That comment looks increasingly accurate.
The Steelers’ offense has needs:
Some Creativity to keep the defense at least a little off balance.
A scheme designed for talented playmakers to make plays.
A game plan to maximize the quarterback’s skills, not minimize him.
Seven weeks into the NFL season, the situation with the offensive coordinator has not improved. The team is 2-5, and the offense is the primary reason. The Steelers haven’t scored more than 20 points since Week 1. Yes, Pickett threw three INTs against Miami. He made some rookie throws.
I’m OK with rookie mistakes from Kenny Pickett, just not from an experienced offensive coordinator. Free the Steelers’ offense. Free Pickett.
Yes, blame Canada.