Gerry Dulac from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to retain offensive coordinator Matt Canada for the 2023 season.
Steelers fans, unsurprisingly, weren’t happy about the news.
That’s because Pittsburgh had the No. 26 scoring offense in the NFL in 2022. The Steelers scored 20 points or fewer in 13 of 17 games this past season.
It’s easy to see why Pittsburgh fans were ready to move on from the heavily criticized offensive coordinator.
There is one big reason, however, why fans shouldn’t be too upset about the decision to bring Canada back in 2022.
Kenny Pickett is “the guy” at quarterback for the Steelers moving forward. And he has a relationship with Canada that dates back to his days as a high school recruit in 2015 when he was being recruited by Canada to play for the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Steelers have no plans to replace offensive coordinator Matt Canada and he is expected to return in 2023, per sources https://t.co/aF3nnZsgLk
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) January 18, 2023
Canada never coached Pickett in college (Canada went to LSU in 2017 after leaving Pitt), but they obviously know each other quite well.
And Pickett likes Canada. He said this week that he looks forward to working with Canada in the offseason.
With Pickett entering his second season in the NFL and with less than a full year of NFL starting experience under his belt, learning a new offensive system in year two wouldn’t be ideal.
Kenny Pickett gives thoughts on OC Matt Canada after his rookie season with the Steelers pic.twitter.com/GCi945dtNz
— pickettforsix (@pickettforsix) January 18, 2023
The Steelers played well down the stretch, going 7-2 after the bye week. The offense still wasn’t great, but Pittsburgh was winning games.
If Pickett wanted Canada back, how could the Steelers go against the wishes of their franchise quarterback? They’d be setting him up for failure.
The likely scenario is that Pickett will have a new offensive coordinator in year three. And he’ll be in a better position as a pro player to make that transition with added experience.
I know everyone wants success quickly. And I still think the Steelers will be a playoff team in 2023. But these first couple of years of Pickett’s career are critical. That should take precedence.
Pittsburgh is going to be fine with one more year of Canada. And Pickett will be a better player because he’s not learning his second offense in two years.