Many have speculated who the Steelers next offensive coordinator could be following the firing of the much-maligned Matt Canada. In the interim, running back coach Eddie Faulkner and quarterback coach Mike Sullivan are working in tandem to orchestrate this not-very-well-oiled machine of an offense.
Through the first 12 weeks of the season, Canada’s Steelers’ offense averaged 16.6 points per game. In the last three weeks without him, they’ve averaged just 14.7. This isn’t an endorsement for Canada, but it certainly isn’t one for Faulkner/Sullivan either. Here’s to hoping the Steelers look outside the organization for their next OC. If they do, here are three candidates the Steelers should consider.
Johnson is in his first year as the Houston Texas quarterbacks coach after spending one season as the Minnesota Vikings assistant quarterbacks coach. The 35-year-old former Texas A&M QB has helped guide rookie QB CJ Stroud to MVP type-levels of play. Stroud has 20 touchdowns to five interceptions and has posted a QB rating of close to 100.
The leap the Texans offense has taken from last year to this year is almost unprecedented. They currently rank ninth in in the NFL averaging 354.8 yards per game, and 14th with 22.1 points per game. In 2022, they were 31st in the league in both yards per game (283.5) and points per game (17.0). Plenty of that credit goes to Stroud, but a large piece of that pie chart should also be credited to Johnson.
He’s a rising star in this league. He would bring a youthful exuberance to a staff that quite frankly is old and bland. It’s worth mentioning that the Steelers signed Johnson, as a player, back on January 13, 2012, and later cut him that same August. So yes, he already bleeds black and gold.
2. Klint Kubiak
The recent coaching tree under current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan includes current Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, and Texans leading man Demeco Ryans, among others. It’s safe to say those teams are in good hands. Kubiak is only 36 years old, so he also checks the “young” box. He’s also the son of former NFL QB and Super-Bowl winning head coach Gary Kubiak.
Before heading to the Bay area, Kubiak worked with multiple teams, including the Broncos and Vikings. He spent 2021 with Minnesota as offensive coordinator but was let go when management decided to cut ties with then-head coach Mike Zimmer and clear his entire staff. He was with the Denver Broncos in 2022 before they also cleaned house. I wouldn’t necessarily put him at fault for those failures, though.
The 49ers currently rank second in the NFL in points per game (29.2) and Brock Purdy has proved that he is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. Kubiak deserves some credit there. The Steelers love NFL bloodlines, and he’d be a tremendous hire.
Here’s a bit of a sleeper for you, and I’m not just throwing this name out there because he went to my high school (shoutout Valley High School in New Kensington, PA).
Girardi is a former standout quarterback at Geneva College (2007-2010) and has spent the last six seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, working directly with a guy you may have heard of — noneother than Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. Girardi is currently the quarterbacks coach, after spending his first five years as a pass game analyst (2021-22), assistant QB coach, and offensive quality control coach (2018-20).
Girardi is a Super Bowl champion. He’s Mahomes’ right-hand man. And he’s a proud Pittsburgher. I’ve heard from a very good source that he wouldn’t leave Kansas City for a lateral move, so if the Steelers did express interest, it’d likely have to be in an offensive coordinator role. Why would you leave Mahomes for a lateral move? He’s a name you should make yourself familiar with!
Which one of these guys would you most want to see as the Steelers' next OC? Let us know in the comments section!