The worst news of this season is the Pittsburgh Steelers keeping Matt Canada as the offensive coordinator. Canada consistently demonstrates that he is unimaginative. A mundane jet sweep is as far as his imagination will take him. Although I have had no substantive disagreements with Mike Tomlin’s past decisions, I have significant disagreements with his decision to retain Matt Canada as offensive coordinator.
Steelers Keeping Matt Canada Means More Woes
According to Pro Football Reference, the Pittsburgh Steelers have the 26th-ranked offense, the statistically worst offense in the AFC North. They have the 24th-ranked passing attack, only the Baltimore Ravens, the 28th-ranked passing attack, are worse in the AFC North. The Ravens have had to play without the injured Lamar Jackson for much of the season, highlighting how pitiful the Steelers’ offense is this season. Although the Steelers are the 16th-ranked rushing team, they have a predictable rushing attack, exposing Najee Harris to unnecessary punishment.
Although it is reasonable to expect growing pains with the transition from Ben Roethlisberger to Mitchell Trubisky and rookie Kenny Pickett, these quarterbacks and the rest of the offensive players are too talented to be ranked collectively as one of the worst offenses in the NFL this season. Given this unacceptable offensive production, it is inexplicable for Mike Tomlin to keep Matt Canada as the offensive coordinator.
Canada has not proven himself to be an effective offensive coordinator. Even when I was completing graduate degree training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and working in the athletic department and he was the offensive coordinator for the Badgers, he was ineffective. Even then, Canada thought his basic jet sweep was innovative. Big Ten defenses were ready for his mediocre offensive scheme.
Hire Byron Leftwich
As ESPN staff writer Jenna Laine reported, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired their offensive coordinator, Byron Leftwich. Even though the Steelers keeping Matt Canada as offensive coordinator is a horrible decision, the team still has an opportunity to hire Leftwich for a coaching position to support improved offensive production, according to Sports Illustrated staff writer Noah Strackbein.
Leftwich, who has won a Super Bowl as the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator, will encourage Canada to use and feature George Pickens more in the passing game. George Pickens has already emerged as a star in his rookie season. Leftwich understands how to employ a talented wide receiver like Pickens—as he proved in Tampa with Mike Evans.
Greater offensive production can take considerable pressure off T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, and Minkah Fitzpatrick, three NFL defensive stars I have previously identified as the best players on the Steelers’ roster. The poor offense Matt Canada continues to put on the field makes life difficult for these stars and the rest of the defense. Each of these players has suffered injuries this season trying to keep the team competitive in games where the offense often struggled to score.
Mike Tomlin loves Byron Leftwich, finds him a remarkable coach, and praises him as “a natural leader and communicator,” as reported by Jeff Hathhorn at 93.7 The Fan. If Matt Canada’s ineptitude continues to rear its ugly head, Leftwich could seamlessly transition to offensive coordinator. However, Tomlin would need to give Leftwich a position where he works in tandem with Canada.
As awful a decision as Mike Tomlin has made to retain Matt Canada as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator, he can possibly redeem himself by hiring Byron Leftwich to support Canada. Without question, Canada needs as much quality help as possible.
Tomlin is risking the Steelers missing the playoffs again next season by allowing Matt Canada to remain offensive coordinator.
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