PITTSBURGH — Seven Steelers did not practice on Thursday as the team began preparations for Monday night’s division showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals.
But the absences probably aren’t as alarming as the total suggests. Cornerback Joe Haden (sprained right AC joint) has missed the first practice of the week two straight weeks but played both times.
Inside linebacker Mark Barron and center Maurkice Pouncey’s absences were classified as “not injury related” by the team.
The other absences are more conquering. Head coach Mike Tomlin has already ruled fullback Roosevelt Nix (knee) out for this week, but he was hoping to see participation from the other injured Steelers in order for them to play on Monday.
But that wasn’t the case, as inside linebacker Vince Williams (hamstring), outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo (plantar fasciitis, right foot) and tight end Vance McDonald (shoulder) all did not practice.
McDonald was replaced last Sunday first by Xavier Grimble and then Zach Gentry when Grimble was injured. Grimble was placed on injured reserve when the Steelers acquired Nick Vannett from the Seattle Seahawks.
Chickillo was replaced by Ola Adeniyi. Williams has been replaced by first-round rookie Devin Bush and Barron’s absence would elevate Tyler Matakevich to a starting role. Barron has sporadically missed practices without an explanation throughout the early part of the season, but has played in all three games.
Report: Steelers Interviewing Mike Sullivan for QB Coach Vacancy
The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly interviewing Mike Sullivan for their quarterbacks coach vacancy, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac.
A 17-year coaching veteran at the NFL level, Sullivan was most recently the quarterbacks coach for the Denver Broncos in 2018. He also has previous experience as an offensive coordinator with the New York Giants (2016-17) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-12).
Sullivan is currently the Director of Recruiting at his alma mater Army, a position he has held since March of last year.
Sullivan would also bring additional championship pedigree to the Steelers, having won Super Bowls XLII and XLVI with the Giants.
Former Giants quarterback Eli Manning had one of the best seasons of his career in 2011 under Sullivan, passing for a career-high 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns.
The Steelers are looking to fill the void left by Matt Canada, who was officially promoted to offensive coordinator on Monday.
The Steelers are talking to Mike Sullivan, a long-time former offensive coordinator/QB coach with the NY Giants and Denver Broncos, about becoming their QB coach, per source.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) January 26, 2021
Mic Drop: Rooting for Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell Is Easy Choice
The idea that either Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell will become a Super Bowl champion after Super Bowl LV isn’t exactly something that makes Steelers fans excited for the big game. With that said, Mike Asti feels deciding who to root for should be an easy choice for Steelers fans. He wants to set the record straight once and for all of why Pittsburgh fans need to stop grouping the two former Steelers together.
While they both left the franchise in a cloud of drama, Le’Veon Bell doesn’t deserve to be treated as if he committed the same kind of sins against the Steelers that Antonio Brown did.
Steelers Promote QB Coach Matt Canada to Offensive Coordinator
The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially promoted quarterbacks coach Matt Canada to offensive coordinator, the organization announced Monday.
We have promoted Matt Canada to offensive coordinator.— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) January 25, 2021
After the Steelers chose not to renew the contract of previous offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, multiple outlets reported on Jan. 16 that the team was planning to hire from within and promote Canada.
The club reportedly also interviewed former Cleveland Browns head coach Hugh Jackson and Los Angeles Chargers quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton, which proved to be mere formalities.
Canada, 48, was also reportedly a candidate for the offensive coordinator opening with the Miami Dolphins, which was filled last week.
Prior to arriving in Pittsburgh ahead of last season, Canada was most recently the offensive coordinator and interim head coach at Maryland in 2018.
He has also made stops as an offensive coordinator at LSU, Pitt, NC State, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Indiana and Butler.
Canada is most known for his success at Pitt in 2016, where he orchestrated the nation’s tenth-ranked scoring offense averaging 42 points per game. He was recognized as a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant, that season.