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The Steelers need a new OC... where should they start?

Surprise! There’s a viable option worth considering inside the building.

Matt Canada of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action during training camp at Heinz Field on July 29, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Fans have literally been calling for the Pittsburgh Steelers to fire offensive coordinator Matt Canada for the last year. They literally called for it on Monday night, with chants of “Fire Canada!” resonating throughout Acrisure Stadium despite the Steelers having a lead over the Browns in an AFC North-style showdown.

The biggest question when considering moving on from Canada is, “But who would supersede him?”

Surprisingly, the answer could lie within the building.

If the Steelers fired Matt Canada, who could step up as OC?

One of the biggest objections to firing Canada mid-season has been the challenge of finding the team’s next offensive coordinator. After all, there’s not much left, considering most of those proven enough to have a role already have one at this point. That’s exactly why the Steelers can — and should — look in-house, as their next offensive coordinator might not be as far away as you’d think.

Maybe, just maybe, the team should consider current Steelers quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan for their next offensive coordinator. Sullivan’s history working in the NFL dates back to the 2002 season, when he made his debut as a defensive quality control coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He transitioned to coach the offensive side of the ball the following season as an offensive assistant and never looked back.

Sullivan is in his third season as the Steelers quarterbacks coach, having been hired back in 2021, replacing — you guessed it! — Matt Canada, who had just been promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator after the team fired Randy Fichtner. He does have four seasons of prior experience as an offensive coordinator, including two seasons each with the Buccaneers (2012-2013) and Giants (2016-2017). His standings during those tenures haven’t been excellent, but could they be a step up from Canada?

Team ranks with Mike Sullivan as OC
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As notes, QB Eli Manning enjoyed success with Sullivan, producing his fifth 4,000-yard season in 2016 under his tutelage, while WR Odell Beckham Jr. posted a career-high 101 receptions for 1,367 receiving yards and 10 TDs.

If the Steelers were to finally move on from Canada, it’s reasonable to look toward someone who Is familiar enough with the offense so that it would not have to go through a full overhaul midseason. It’s also helpful to have someone in the mix who’s been coaching second-year QB Kenny Pickett since he was drafted last season — someone who’s watched his development closely, knows his strengths, and more importantly, knows his weaknesses, and is willing to game plan in a way that minimizes them.

There’s obviously no perfect answer for the Steelers’ next offensive coordinator, should they move on in the middle of the season. However, it does allow them to get an early start on the search next year. After all, there will surely be offensive coordinators who do get fired by other teams this offseason — teams who are likely quicker on the trigger in making the decision to move on (and who to move on to) than we can expect the Steelers to be based on past precedent.