Fire Matt Canada


Photo Credit: Joe Sargent / Getty Images

I’ve seen enough. I’ve seen way more than enough. 

Matt Canada has to go. 

It’s a shame, because Canada is such a cool last name. I mean how often is it that you see somebody that shares the same last name with an entire country, let alone the same name as our lovely neighbors to the north? 

But his performance as an offensive coordinator has been atrocious, and it cannot continue. 

After the disastrous showing for the Steelers offense in 2021, many fans (myself included) expected, or at least hoped, to see the Matt Canada experiment end and him be let go. But instead, the Steelers kept him, under the guise of him being able to open up the playbook and really get to run his offense after Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement. 

But the excuse of Canada’s offense being hindered by Ben’s constant spot-on impression of an oak tree behind a horrific offensive line last year is gone now. This is now Matt Canada’s offense, for real. And it sucks. 

Three games in, the Steelers are 1-2, and while that’s not a great start, they’re lucky to not be 0-3. After a potential game of the year candidate in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Steelers should have kicked off the season 0-1, but were bailed out by a defense that played out of its mind and Minkah Fitzpatrick being a man on a mission. 

But the Steelers played that conservative offense that is filled with 1 yard Najee Harris runs and 2 yard passes that you consider lucky if they end up caught by a receiver. 

Week 2 against New England wasn’t much better, but something very apparent showed itself during Week 2: the Steelers played much better in a fast-paced, no huddle offense. This kind of up-tempo offense allowed a quick strike to Pat Freiermuth for a touchdown. But at that point, it was too little too late, and they followed up that drive with back to back 3 and outs.

In talks with the media after the loss to the Patriots, several Steelers players subtly (or not to subtly) expressed their frustration or discontent with the offense. Mitch Trubisky talked about how they needed to throw the football farther down the field. 

Pat Freiermuth talked about trusting each other on the field. 

Chase Claypool had words too, and went with a more firm approach: go ask the coaches. 

“We can only do what they tell us to do and execute it,” Claypool added.

While that quote isn’t a direct shot at Matt Canada, it’s certainly an implication that the players are fed up with the coaching job on the offense. And they rightfully should be.

But for a moment in Week 3, it seemed as though maybe Matt Canada had figured something out. The Steelers looked great in the first half in Week 3. Mitch Trubisky threw the ball down the field, George Pickens made what should be the catch of the year, and both Najee Harris and undrafted rookie Jaylen Warren were able to run the ball well.

But as mysteriously as that success appeared, it was gone. It’s almost as if Canada thought that opening up the playbook, throwing the ball down field, and improving the play calling was a bit too successful, and the Steelers needed to dial it back for the second half.

They did more than that, scoring only 3 points coming off a field goal with 1:48 remaining in the 4th quarter. After a failed onside kick, the Browns have a 3 and out and give the ball back to the Steelers, who have no timeouts and 9 seconds to score a touchdown. And they do score a touchdown…for Cleveland. A laughable attempt at the classic last-gasp lateral play, the Steelers end up bobbling the ball into their own endzone, where the Browns recover and score. 

The offense was not the only problem in Pittsburgh’s loss in Cleveland, with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt torching the defense on the ground, and Amari Cooper and David Njoku catching balls left and right. But, you cannot expect to win any football games if you can only ever muster 17 points. 

In three weeks so far this season, they’ve scored 17 in Week 1 (not counting the 6 scored by Minkah Fitzpatrick’s pick six), 14 in Week 2, and 17 in Week 3. That’s a huge problem, and you cannot win games in today’s NFL if that’s the best you can do. 

The frustration was evident towards the end of the game Thursday night, when the cameras cut to George Pickens and Diontae Johnson. Their body language said it all.

A common proposal to improving the Steelers offense, or lack thereof, is to bench Mitch Trubisky and start first round pick Kenny Pickett at QB, and while it is very possible that Kenny Pickett is already better than Mitch Trubisky, Pickett being the starter will not change how bad the play calling is.

The difference from Roethlisberger to Trubisky or even Pickett was supposed to be that the latter two could move in the pocket, had the legs and foot speed to evade defenders better, and were overall better at being mobile QBs. But this benefit has not shown that Canada’s conservative offense has not changed. 

Yes, Trubisky has his woes. He has flat out not seen wide open receivers (George Pickens in particular) multiple times so far this season, and will make you question at times who he was even trying to throw the ball to, but even if you replace Trubisky in favor of Pickett, Pickett will still have to deal with Canada’s offense, and likely will not be able to change how it is called.  If Mitch Trubisky, a now six year NFL veteran doesn’t have the power to call audibles, do you really think that rookie Kenny Pickett will?

This is not to say that Pickett would not be an improvement over Trubisky, it’s likely that he would be. But they both would have to deal with Canada’s crippling woes, because if Mitch has no power over the offense, why would Kenny? 

The defense, especially with TJ Watt out for the time being, cannot win games on their own. You need an offense who can actually perform, and that starts at the helm, with the guy upstairs calling the plays. It’s not working, and if you have any hopes of having a competitive season, there needs to be a change. 

Despite what I may sound like, I really don’t like calling for people to lose their jobs. Matt Canada is probably a really nice guy, he probably tips very well at restaurants and all that good stuff. But from a football perspective, there’s no place for his play calling in the Steelers organization, or the NFL.