Have the Pittsburgh Steelers lost faith in the Pittsburgh Steelers?
Something is not right with this 2023 Pittsburgh Steelers team.
After finding a way to go 2–1 through the month of September, the Pittsburgh Steelers went to Houston, the team who was the weakest on their schedule based off of 2022 results, and suffered a worse defeat then they had in Week 1 at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. While I have much praise and respect for the direction the Texans are headed, who really cares at this point because the Pittsburgh Steelers are in disarray.
As I said following the game, the blame for this performance should not be passed over anyone. It should not be laid all on the feet of the coaches or all on the feet of the players. The Steelers have shown that the players can overcome a bad offensive scheme as they have done so to finish out the 2022 season and managed to overcome this for two victories so far in 2023. But on Sunday, the players simply didn’t look the same.
While I will say that there is no one that should be beyond blame for this loss to Houston, it doesn’t mean that a large portion of the blame can’t be placed in one specific area. I know many fans will look for the scapegoat to figure out what is going on, but based on what I have seen on the field and the rumblings going on within the Steelers organization which are floating around, I think many fans have correctly settled on the biggest problem.
Altough it is difficult to blame the offensive coordinator for problems with the defense, I’m finally finding a way to do it. I think the exact problem with the Steelers on Sunday is exemplified in their stubbornness to hold onto Matt Canada.
I believe the players are losing faith in the organization.
Before I dive into everything with how that applies to Sunday’s game, let’s look at Matt Canada as the Steelers offensive coordinator. When he was hired in 2021, he was not the Steelers first and only choice. Pittsburgh actually was one of the last organizations to announce the filling of their coordinator position during the offseason because they continued to interview candidates before making a decision. And when the Steelers finally “did but we all knew what they were going to do anyway,” perhaps it wasn’t that the decision was made and they just waited long enough to do their “due diligence.”
From what I’m hearing, I don’t know that Mike Tomlin has ever believed in Matt Canada but has been stuck with him anyway. And if that is the case, I think he’s correct.
On top of this, I don’t believe Mike Tomlin wanted Matt Canada for the 2023 season. I’ve heard rumors to this degree that I cannot confirm, but it would not shock me in the least. Knowing how the Steelers do business and don’t like to fire a coach until their contract expires, would it really shock fans to hear that team president Art Rooney II said that he will continue though the rest of his contract? Not me.
I’m sure there are plenty who still want to blame Mike Tomlin for having Matt Canada and I understand if that is your belief. We do not know the details for sure, but whoever is choosing to keep him is ultimately at fault and is bringing down the entire organization.
Getting back to how this affects everything on both sides of the ball for the Steelers organization, why should players go out on the field and “lay it all on the line“ for an organization that knows this aspect is an utter failure and will not take the necessary steps to correct it? It’s obvious to those with limited football knowledge that Matt Canada is not a championship caliber offenses coordinator. He’s the very definition of “JV“ that Mike Tomlin uses so often. But if the organization is content with such a less-than-mediocre offensive scheme, why should the players put their bodies on the line to try to overcome such ineptitude?
Why should a defense have to continually be called upon to carry a team that has no confidence in its ability to move the ball or score points?
Why should a quarterback put himself in harms way for an offensive coordinator that refuses to even let him change the play at the line of scrimmage?
Why should a tight end struggling through injury continue to go out there and give everything on a run block for a play the defense knows is coming and has more players there to block than blockers to get the job done?
The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base is losing faith in this team after one terrible loss. I get it. But looking at the product on the field, it seems like too many of the players have lost faith in the organization. Maybe they haven’t and just played terrible on Sunday, but I’m not ready to go that far to say this team has inept players.
Is it right to put everything on one coach?
In this case, I think it is. There have been rumblings for so long about disbelief in Matt Canada within the Steelers. At what point is enough simply enough?
If the Steelers were to let Matt Canada go today, do I expect much to change with the Steelers offense? Honestly, I don’t. I don’t believe anybody who would have to take over and pick up what is going on with the Steelers offense right now could actually make it be massively better than what it has been to this point.
But with that said, it still needs to be done.
Right now, the Steelers are in a very dangerous situation where letting Matt Canada simply play out his contract could bring so much damage to this franchise it will be difficult to recover anytime soon. And if the decision to do so (which I believe comes from the very top above Mike Tomlin) is the person ultimately behind righting the ship after Canada has sailed away, why would anyone believe that improvement would come quickly when obviously it was their decision to continue to ride the Canada train?
The Pittsburgh Steelers players need to know that the organization is doing everything they can in their power to give them a chance to succeed. Employing Matt Canada is not doing this. In fact, it is sending the opposite message to the players that we will be loyal to a contract to such a degree that losing the locker room isn’t important.
One bad apple can’t spoil the whole bunch. Steelers fans have seen this over the years, especially after the bad apples have moved to a different city. Rather than get into everything with a certain #84, a better and more recent example is wide receiver Chase Claypool. After the Steelers got him out of their locker room, things were much better for the rest of the season. As for the Chicago Bears who brought in Claypool, they have yet to win a game since they acquired him and are now to a point where they are asking him to stay away from the team facility. This is because one bad apple really does ruin the bunch.
Matt Canada is a bad apple. The belief in him is gone. Even if it’s the same offensive scheme because changing everything during the season is too much to try to pull off, it’s still no excuse. Keeping him there is sending the wrong message.
If the Steelers want their players to buy into what they need to do, they have got to get this guy out of the locker room.