Is Matt Canada nothing more than the 2023 Steelers scapegoat?
The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing to give Mike Tomlin an extension either before training camp, or at least before the regular season begins, and after our source gave me this information I started to think about what this means for the team as a whole.
More importantly, for the current coaching staff.
When it comes to the Steelers coaching staff, there aren’t many complaints about anyone other than the person who is dialing up plays for the black-and-gold. Yes, the much-maligned Matt Canada.
With Tomlin not likely to go anywhere, you have to wonder what this will entail for Canada as he prepares for his third year as the offensive coordinator, the final year of his current contract. To be more specific, you have to wonder if any offensive ineptitude this season will fall on one person’s shoulders, no matter what.
That would be Matt Canada.
Does Canada feel the pressure which accompanies the job? Absolutely, but he likes it that way.
“I got a great job, and I can’t imagine a job when you don’t have pressure, right?” Canada said during mandatory minicamp. “It’s easy for people to talk about pressure and focus, right? I’m excited. I would not want any other job and obviously, to have the great players we’ve got here, we’re excited about what we’ve got and the development that we’ve made over the course of time with the guys we had and some new additions. So, there’s pressure every day in life if you’ve got something worth doing. So, I don’t, I don’t feel any more than I ever feel. I want to do the best job I can for us to win football games.”
Canada’s future with the team, or in the NFL, likely hinges on the success, or failure, of second year quarterback Kenny Pickett. Barring injury, if Pickett takes a huge step forward, Canada very well could be retained. If that leap doesn’t occur, well, you know what will happen. The contract won’t be extended.
Either way, a very important aspect of this discussion is the fact Canada will have the same quarterback for the first time to start a season since he took over as coordinator. He had an aging Ben Roethlisberger his Year 1, Mitch Trubisky in Year 2, and now Pickett, who took over for Trubisky in Week 4 of 2022.
Does it matter?
“Sure, certainly obviously you’re able to build and do some things when you can kind of, you know, we know what Kenny [Pickett] likes, what Kenny’s good at, what Kenny needs to build upon, strengths, weaknesses at every position.” said Canada. “I think you look at the course of time where we’ve been through this process, and we’ve had a lot of younger players and the quarterback is the most noticeable in the pivotal position, but we got a bunch of those at a lot of spots. So, for sure we’re excited about where we are in the development, we can make with the experience at a lot of spots.”
There has been a lot of talk about whether Canada will open up the playbook recently, but the fact remains the Steelers have a built-in excuse, or scapegoat, if things go south offensively.
If the Steelers struggle, Canada is the fall guy.
If the Steelers succeed, the marriage between Canada and Pickett will likely continue.
When it comes to protecting a young quarterback, it makes sense, and the hope is Canada and Pickett prove their worth in 2023. For fans who despise Canada, just remember Canada and Pickett have a history, and there is a strong chance Pickett was more than content to continue their relationship as quarterback and coordinator.
Best-case scenario is the Steelers offense blossoms into something special and this talking point becomes a non-issue. If not, well, the fall guy is already in place.