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Daily Links: Run Blocking Problems, Steelers Too Loyal?



Kenny Pickett Steelers Matt Canada

Stephen A. Smith has seen enough. He thinks Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada has to go. Through two games, the Steelers’ offense is averaging 9.5 points per game and a league-low 12 first downs. They’re the only team in the league to not have a first down in the first quarter.

“At some point Mike Tomlin has to recognize… My brotha, certain people have to go. Matt Canada has had ample opportunity. … Matt Canada has got to go. He’s too conventional, too predictable, too pedestrian, and you’re not coming up with anything innovative,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take. “It’s hurting Najee Harris. It’s hurting (George) Pickens. It’s hurting (Pat) Freiermuth. It’s hurting everything. He’s gotta go.”

Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe agreed with Smith’s assessment on the Steelers’ offense.

“I don’t see them as true contenders because of the play-calling with Matt Canada and combination of Kenny Pickett is just not good enough,” Sharpe said. “As Stephen A. mentioned they can’t run the football. They got one play (on Monday night) and George Pickens made that play (71-yard catch-and-run touchdown).”

🏈 Colin Cowherd of FS1 thinks the Steelers are being too loyal to Matt Canada.

“They’re averaging 4.8 yards a play, second-worst in the entire league and they got dudes. George Pickens and Jaylen Warren and Pat Freiermuth. They got all sorts of talent here,” Cowherd said. “Pittsburgh’s an excellent organization, but they’re starting to become paralyzed. So into their brand, so into loyalty. This offense stinks. Nine (first downs), barely 21 minutes time of possession. Do you know the Steelers? This is embarrassing in 2023.

“Loyalty is one of those words that we view almost empirically as positive. Always good. Sometimes you have to move off plans. Sometimes you have to move off people like Matt Canada, the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s holding the franchise back.”

🏈 Chris Simms of NBC Sports thought Minkah Fitzpatrick’s tackle on Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb was unnecessary. Chubb’s gruesome left knee injury will require surgery and he will be out for the remainder of the season.

“I don’t love that he is engaged with somebody else. Minkah Fitzpatrick goes low on him. I just didn’t love that. I don’t think it was necessary. That was one thing that jumped out to me a little bit,” Simms said.

🏈 Kyle Brandt, who co-hosts the morning show on NFL Network, said some former players weren’t happy with Fitzpatrick over the hit, either.

“I’m texting with some people that played in the league that said, ‘The Minkah hit is dirty. He should be fined, he should be suspended. There is no business for that. He went low when [Chubb] was vulnerable,’” Brandt said.

Former Browns defensive back Jason McCourty, who was on set with Brandt, defended the tackle that Fitzpatrick used to bring down Chubb on Monday night. Former Steelers Ryan Clark and Vince Williams also defended Fitzpatrick.

🏈Following the season-ending injury to Nick Chubb, Ryan Clark said on Inside The NFL: “The running backs were right, and the teams were right” about the state of the running back position.

🏈 Per Next Gen StatsGeorge Pickens reached a top speed of 20.56 mph on his 71-yard catch-and-run touchdown, the fastest speed of his career.

🏈 Dorin Dickerson on 93.7 The Fan thinks Jaylen Warren is clearly better than Najee Harris right now.

“If you don’t think Jaylen Warren’s the better back at this point, you’re insane.” Dickerson said.

Check out the photo below. Jaylen Warren got a first down on that play, which was on third-and-10 to keep the drive alive. George Pickens’ 71-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Kenny Pickett happened on the next play. Warren leads the NFL right now in forced missed tackles per touch (0.61), according to Fantasy Data Points.

🏈 The Steelers’ two defensive touchdowns against the Browns on Monday night was the first time since the 2010 season against the Cincinnati Bengals that the defense had multiple scores — LaMarr Woodley had 14-yard interception return and Troy Polamalu had 45-yard interception touchdown.

🎂 Happy 38th birthday to former Steelers offensive lineman Darnell Stapleton, born on Sept. 21, 1985 in Union, New Jersey. Stapleton joined the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers in 2007. In 2008, he replaced Kendall Simmons after an injury, starting 12 regular season games and all the way through Super Bowl XLIII.

🎥 NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger broke down the issues with the Steelers’ offensive line.

“Steelers run game is poor; and this 2pnt try is an example of why it’s bad…..It starts with knocking people off the ball. Period! Baldinger said.


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