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Mike Tomlin explains firing Matt Canada, and the plan moving forward

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12, but that wasn’t the main talking point in Mike Tomlin’s weekly press conference. The news of the team firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada Tuesday morning was the big news which was discussed early and often during Tomlin’s weekly media availability.

Before fielding questions, Tomlin talked about how it is his “job to protect those that I work with” and it was a large reason for the team moving on from Canada as the play caller. He added the decision was “not easy, but necessary” considering the state of the offense after 10 games through the regular season.

Ultimately, Tomlin cited how the job is a results oriented business. He spoke about how in this job you “gotta score touchdowns in this business, and you gotta win games in this business.” While the Steelers offense had done enough, barely, to win six games so far this season, the results in the past few weeks were jarring.

So how will the team replace Canada and the many duties he has on the daily and weekly basis? Tomlin talked how running backs coach Eddie Faulkner will be elevated to offensive coordinator. Tomlin said Faulkner will have full authority over the game plan and getting the offense ready on a week-in and week-out basis.

But Faulkner isn’t doing the job alone. According to Tomlin, the bulk of play-calling will be quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan. Tomlin made sure to note Sullivan has done it in two different locations with tangible experience, and has worked closely with Kenny [Pickett] since being brought in to coach the quarterbacks. Sullivan provides “fluidity and cohesion” as the offense looks to move forward.

When the Steelers head coach opened up the press conference to questions from the media, he was peppered with questions regarding the decision to part ways with Canada now, and not earlier in the season. While vague, Tomlin said “You just know when you’re there” when asked about what caused him to make the move.

Pressed on the answer, he was asked about the tipping point which resulted in the decision to let Canada go. “Tipping point is when I made the decision” was Tomlin’s response.

For those fans who have considered the thought of bringing in someone from the outside to help with the play calling/coordinating of the offense, Tomlin said he hasn’t “considered it realistically” at this juncture. The reason behind Tomlin not considering an outside the organization move, he mentioned how there are “a lot of challenges in doing what we’re doing” and added the multi-person approach can be epitomized by “the strength of the pack is the pack.”

What exactly is the hopeful end game for Tomlin and his new offensive coaching staff? It’s simple.

“I want to see points. I want to engineer victory more fluidly.” he said.

Lastly, Tomlin was asked about who made the decision. Was the front office, Omar Khan, included in the decision? The decision was Tomlin’s and Tomlin’s alone.

“Leadership is lonely. I don’t run from it, I run to it. It was my decision alone.”

Injury News/Notes:

Minkah Fitzpatrick (hamstring) and Montravius Adams (ankle) are “working hard” to return to the lineup and are hopeful to get back to practice this week.

No other players were mentioned outside of the vague “bumps and bruises associated with play” label.

Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12.


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