Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada will call plays from the sideline against the Tennessee Titans rather than his usual spot in the booth, according to multiple reports. The change comes as the Steelers hope to allow Canada closer proximity to the players, Mike Tomlin and quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Pittsburgh’s offense has struggled, and communication has become an issue from the top to the bottom. While the play calls have improved slightly, execution has not, and that means there could be a disconnect in the details between the players and the offensive coordinator, prompting Matt Canada to come down onto the sideline for a closer look at things.
Pickett had long had an offensive coordinator with him in college, as Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple would stand on the sidelines and routinely have Pickett run over to the sideline to get the play call. While that is unlikely to be the case with Canada, it does bring about a proximity where the flow of feedback can quickly become more streamlined and efficient. In the past few weeks, players have defended Canada against the ‘Fire Matt Canada’ chants, including receiver Diontae Johnson.
“It sucks to hear because it’s not like he’s intentionally trying to f*** up,” Johnson said.”I just feel like it’s my job to be that person he can talk to about stuff like that. When I see the OC man, I can’t do nothing but go over there and talk to him about certain stuff. I try to take his mind off stuff like, ‘I’m on your side at the end of the day. Don’t listen to whatever they’re saying out there. They’re gonna say what they gotta say, but we’re gonna make you look good.”
Canada hopes this change can at least lead to something for the Steelers offensively. Nothing will change until the offensive coordinator and players have in sync communication and execution. Usually, when one is on, the other is off, creating a broken offense. Tennessee has a star in Jeffery Simmons but is weak behind him. He could wreck the game, but this, theoretically, should be a game where the Steelers can make some plays offensively and get ahead early.