Are you surprised?
When you saw the quotes from Art Rooney II speaking with the media Thursday and how he was supportive of Matt Canada being retained, were you surprised?
Think about it. When the Pittsburgh Steelers season finished on a high note, although without a playoff berth, and Kenny Pickett would be the team’s quarterback for the foreseeable future, the team was likely to keep Canada as their play caller. Nonetheless, the team president would certainly have a say in the matter. Therefore, with Rooney likely being a part of the process, Canada being retained shouldn’t shock anyone.
When speaking to media Thursday afternoon, Canada cited Canada’s relationship with Kenny Pickett, which Rooney said was a “good relationship” as to why the organization chose to keep him in 2023. On top of that, he added how he felt as if bringing in a new play caller could set their young quarterback’s progress back.
This per Dale Lolley of Steelers.com:
Rooney also said Matt Canada and Kenny Pickett have built a "good relationship." Said bringing in a different offensive coordinator for 2023 could set the young QB back. Also said the Steelers "may have all the pieces around (Pickett) already." Though they could add to that. https://t.co/EnjlDngCWu— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) January 26, 2023
As noted by Lolley, Rooney also emphasized the team’s need to score more points in 2023, which isn’t a novel idea in today’s NFL.
Last season the Steelers averaged 18.1 points per game, which was well in the bottom third of the league. While no team averaged 30 points per game this past regular season, when you consider the Top 5 teams in the category you see a glaring similarity between the teams.
1. Kansas City Chiefs — 29.2 ppg
2. Buffalo Bills — 28.4
3. Philadelphia Eagles — 28.1
4. Dallas Cowboys — 27.5
5. Detroit Lions — 26.6
Only the Lions in the above list were non-playoff teams. When you look further down the list, of the Top 10 teams, in terms of points per game, only Detroit was the only team who didn’t make the playoffs in 2022.
So, here we are again, as Steelers fans. Last season similar conversations were had regarding Canada’s future with the team, and the organization put the hope in an improved offensive talent to improve the offense. Now, after drafting a new quarterback and returning almost the entire offense in 2023, Canada will no longer have a crutch to stand with if the offense sputters. Nonetheless, his contract is up after next season, so if the Steelers want to go in a new direction they can just not renew the contract, rather than firing Canada. A move Steelers fans have grown accustomed to seeing over the years.
With all that said, it’s another year of the Canada system in Pittsburgh, so buckle up Steelers fans, it could be a bumpy ride.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for NFL Free Agency and the 2023 NFL Draft.