The Pittsburgh Steelers announced they’ve fired Matt Canada as offensive coordinator Tuesday morning. Now, ahead of Week 12’s matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, they’ll have some reorganizing to do for the back of the house.
The team will look to running backs coach Eddie Faulkner to assume interim offensive coordinator duties, while quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan will call plays for the offense, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports.
Mike Sullivan to Steelers offensive play-caller
Mike Sullivan earned his first role as an NFL staffer back in 2002, working as a defensive quality control coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. It wasn’t long before he transitioned to the offense, however.
Sullivan has four years of experience working in an offensive coordinator role, including for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2012 and 2013 seasons, as well as the New York Giants in 2016 and 2017. Notably, in Sullivan’s first year as the Giants OC, the team went 11-5, with 2x Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning throwing 3,027 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Sullivan has experience as a play-caller, too, having assumed the role back in 2017 once a struggling Ben McAdoo handed over those responsibilities in Week 6 of thtat season.
Sullivan was hired as the Steelers quarterbacks coach back in the 2021 season, when Canada was promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. Given the familiarity with quarterback Kenny Pickett and understanding of the playbook and offensive framework currently installed, this could be a fairly smooth transition for the team.
Though fans shouldn’t expect a huge shakeup in offensive play-calling midseason, the hope would be for improved communication between the offense, which has been an issue that’s become more apparent than ever in recent weeks.
Eddie Faulkner as Steelers interim OC
Eddie Faulkner has worked as the Steelers running backs coach dating back to the 2019 season. A former running back himself, Faulkner has spent the bulk of his career coaching in the NCAA, including tenures at Anderson University, Ball State, Northern Illinois, Pitt, Wisconsin and NC State before being hired by the Steelers in 2019.
It’s unsurprising that the team would look for Faulkner to be involved, particularly considering the recent success the Steelers have found with the run game in recent weeks. The team has totaled 160 or more rushing yards in each of their last three games — a feat that’s occurred just seven times in Matt Canada’s entire tenure as offensive coordinator dating back to the 2021 season. UDFA Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris will likely be a big focal point as the team looks to improve their communication with QB Kenny Pickett and the passing game.