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Steelers Reacts Results: Confidence in the team is high as ever ahead of Week 13, plus Steelers fans’ pick for OC in 2024

Steelers Nation spoke out! Here’s what they said.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) talks with his teammates in the huddle during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals on November 26, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Earlier this week, we polled fans on several questions about their confidence in the team ahead of Week 13, how they performed in comparison to fan expectations in their first game without Matt Canada, and who they’d like to see as the Steelers offensive coordinator in 2023. Here’s what they had to say.

Steelers fans are as confident in the team as they’ve been all season.

It’s no surprise considering that A) Mike Tomlin finally showed signs of life and an indication of discontent with the performance of his team by firing Matt Canada as offensive coordinator, and B) the offense seemed to have shown improvement over just a four day span since Canada was fired under interim OC Eddie Faulkner.

79% of Steelers fans polled say they’re confident the team is headed in the right direction ahead of Week 13 kickoff.

Most Steelers fans say the team exceeded expectations in Week 12.

There weren’t necessarily massive expectations for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their first week without Matt Canada, especially considering interim OC Eddie Faulkner had just days to put together a gameplan for Week 12 and establish some structure in the absence of Matt Canada. There’s also the fact that they can’t exactly install a whole new offense mid-season.

Still, to surpass the 400-yard mark in the first. dang. week. without Matt Canada calling plays, even amidst the turmoil of change and the emotional reverb that comes from losing a leader in the locker room (even if he wasn’t the most popular) — that sure does speak volumes.

Faulkner spoke at length this week about the approach he took in implementing changes in the offense ahead of Week 12, and fans were undoubtedly relieved to hear his emphasis wasn’t on making wholesale changes; his emphasis was on detail.

Just weeks ago as the Steelers faced the Packers, tight end Jace Sternberger (who had spent time with Pittsburgh’s practice squad) spoke at length in an interview regarding the stark differences in the installation of the Packers offense vs. the Steelers offense. His big callout was Matt Canada’s lack of detail, and how that made it more challenging to execute.

Particularly with a relatively young offense, including a second-year quarterback with Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, George Pickens and Pat Freiermuth all at varying points within the first three years of their professional careers, details, coaching points, and learning the “whys” feel paramount to their development. Perhaps that’s why a team with as much raw talent as the Steelers have had to this point have yet to hit their potential.

45% of Steelers fans would pick Byron Leftwich as the Steelers OC in 2024.

Among the four options presented, including Byron Leftwich, Ben Roethlisberger, Eddie Faulkner and Mike Sullivan, the majority of those polled said they’d like to see Byron Leftwich as the Steelers’ next offensive coordinator.

It seems reasonable considering the organization’s history that, if the offense shows significant improvement for the remainder of the season, interim OC Eddie Faulkner would be likely promoted to the role permanently. However, if things stall out, Leftwich does seem like the most natural fit. A former Pittsburgh Steeler himself, Leftwich has played under HC Mike Tomlin, having been with the team in the 2008, 2010 and 2012 seasons, even if his lone start with the team yielded a loss.

In addition to his experience with the team and the culture that Tomlin has worked so diligently to install, Leftwich also has five years experience as an offensive coordinator, having spent one season with the Cardinals before moving on with the Buccaneers as their offensive coordinator from the 2019 to 2022 seasons. Leftwich’s offense ranked as a top-seven unit in terms of yardage and a top-three unit in terms of points scored in three of his four seasons with the Buccaneers, with his greatest emphasis being on the pass, which could be fruitful for the Steelers as they look to break open a world of possibilities in the development of second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett.

Some have discussed the merits of former quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returning to the team to assume the offensive coordinator role, receiving the second-highest percentage of votes here at 22%. Most, if not all, of that conjecture likely stems from Roethlisberger’s willingness to audible and show command of the offense in taking it off-script when need be. However, Roethlisberger’s shown in dang-near every opportunity he’s had to display leadership qualities worthy of an offensive coordinator that he doesn’t have them. So, while the idea might be fun for nostalgia’s sake (and he really probably would have been a huge improvement over Canada even despite the lack of leadership), quite simply, it wouldn’t be a great idea.

Just 33% of fans would pick between Eddie Faulkner or Mike Sullivan as the team’s permanent OC moving forward, but don’t be surprised if that percentage continues to trend up if this team finds its groove on offense through the remainder of the 2023 NFL season.

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