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Steelers’ OC Matt Canada Seems To Indicate A Behind The Scenes Battle With Mike Tomlin Has Been Raging Since Training Camp

Matt Freed/Post-Gazette

Steelers’ OC Matt Canada Seems To Indicate A Behind The Scenes Battle With Mike Tomlin Has Been Raging Since Training Camp

The Pittsburgh Steelers will meet the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Acrisure Stadium. The 2022 Steelers are on life support and if any magic is going to happen it has to start when the Steelers touch the ball against a stout New Orleans defense. Matt Canada has had two weeks to draw up a game plan that will work and for the good of the mental health of Steeler Nation, it must.

Steelers Warren

Photo Credt: Jordan Schofield / Steeler Nation (Twitter JSKO_Photo)

“Jaylen has been explosive, you look at what he’s done when he’s been on the field,” Canada said during his weekly address to the media on Thursday. “He is writing his own script, coming from where he started and where he is now. He’s elevated and we will continue to use him. We have got to get the ball to the guys who are making plays.”

There has been a lot of speculation about Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris during the week. Warren has been impressive physically since the first day of contact practice in Latrobe, PA. He has steadily flashed throughout the season and the inference is that it may translate to more touches on Sunday for the undrafted free agent. Warren has shown burst, and it will be interesting to see if he does get an extended look at the beginning of the game against the Saints.

“I think Najee is in a good spot. He’s healthy, feeling good,” Canada continued. “Everybody has got to do their job. Najee can improve, and he sees that. All he can do is what he can do.”

Steelers Najee Harris

Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Najee Harris (#22) during a game at Acrisure Stadium against the New York Jets on Oct. 2, 2022, in Pittsburgh, PA. | Photo Credit: Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers selected Harris in the first round last season as the new bell cow back in Pittsburgh. With Ben Roethlisberger at the helm, he demonstrated that he had ability but still averaged less than four yards per carry when rushing the ball. He was a huge weapon in the passing game last season and has almost been nonexistent in that capacity in 2022. Canada seems to be hinting that Harris is playing to his ability which should set off alarm bells that the offensive coordinator may think they missed on the second-year pro.

“Look at other really great quarterbacks in the history of the NFL and they didn’t have good rookie stat lines,” Canada said in regard to Kenny Pickett. “That is not where we are at, we gotta win football games. He knows that. He’s an unbelievably competitive guy. I think Kenny is going to have a tremendous second half of the season.”


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Canada is showing a great deal of faith in two rookies who got limited work in the spring when training camp opened but earned more and more playing time as the preseason progressed. It is interesting how he refers to the rookies as coming on versus the person that Mike Tomlin anointed as the leader of the offense. Canada seems to be indicating, and it may not be on purpose, that Harris is just a guy.

“We are ready to go the second half of the year, there are a lot of things we have got to do better,” Canada concluded. “We have to execute a higher level at those key times for plays to occur. There are opportunities that are there, we have to make them. We can talk about the rookie quarterback or reps in camp, nobody cares. We have to find a way to score more points.”

Canada owes his continued employment to Tomlin, or so observers thought. Could someone else be protecting the embattled OC, and if so why? Based on the statement at the end, as fans we have to wonder did a massive finger-pointing session take place behind the scenes. Canada seems to favor Warren and Pickett and may have from the start. Calling back to training camp reps seems like a shot at the head coach for forcing him to play Mitch Trubisky over Pickett.

Steelers Mitch Trubisky

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Mitch Trubisky (#10) warms up before a preseason match-up against the Detroit Lions at Acrisure Stadium on August 28, 2022. | Photo Credit: Jordan Schofield / SteelerNation (Twitter: @JSKO_PHOTO)

The merits of playing Trubisky over Pickett have been exhausted, but it is a viable question whether the coordinator’s lack of faith led to him throwing out a no-audible rule. The rumor has gone away but Trubisky insisted he was not allowed to check out of plays before going silent on the bench. His silence should not be confused with an endorsement of the company line, but if his career is now that of a backup quarterback, it pays to keep your mouth shut.

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin Not Ruling Out ‘Significant Changes,’ But What Could They Be With Matt Canada’s Job Safe?

Canada seems to be indicating that there is a line between him and Tomlin as far as the offense and the blame goes. It is either a weasel move to throw your boss under the bus in hopes that you can still get an NFL job, or it is copious interference in the offense by a head coach who does not trust assistants. Omar Khan or Art Rooney II have to get in the middle if they aren’t already and decide which it is. Either way, the general manager and owner are going to give the head coach an opportunity to solve the problem first.

What do you think Steeler Nation? Is Canada trying to deflect blame onto Tomlin because of personnel decisions or is it too little too late? Comment below or on my Twitter @thebubbasq.

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I have been rooting for the Steelers actively since 1975. I love the Black and Gold and support them through thick and thin. I am a Navy Veteran, living in Jacksonville, FL and never miss a chance to go to the neutral site games here in Jacksonville. I am new to the Steeler Nation website, but I love discussing Steelers Past, Present and Future.

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Jeff

    November 11, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    You’re reading something into that statement that just isn’t there. He’s basically saying excuses don’t matter and they have to get better. There’s nothing else there in those comments.

  2. Greg

    November 11, 2022 at 12:05 pm

    As all steeler fans are aware of . Canada was a failure in college as an offensive coordinator. What made Tomlin think he would be successful at this level ? Just fire him already !!

  3. Michael Scharf

    November 11, 2022 at 12:51 pm

    With so much blame being directed at Canada, Tomlin has the responsibility to identify and correct the offensive struggles. However, 9 weeks into Canada’s 2nd season this now falls on Khan and/or Rooney need to step in make a change based on the performance of players and coaches.

  4. james king

    November 11, 2022 at 12:55 pm

    As a native Fettervanian, I am now released from supporting all Pittsburgh and Philadelphia teams. I’ve been loyal even to the Pirates. The owners of these teams only care about money anyway. So all you Fetterman voters, enjoy your inflated energy bills, your city crime, your fracking layoffs.

  5. PittDirt53

    November 11, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    Nailed it!

  6. Richard Connelly

    November 11, 2022 at 2:02 pm

    Just fire everyone.. We will not win anything with Tomlin most overrated coach in the League!!

  7. Enzo

    November 11, 2022 at 2:06 pm

    I think Tomlin needs to go along with all his underlings. Everyone boasts about him never having a losing season. That’s a nice stat, but in the steel city we are used to Lombardi trophies. You know who else never had a losing season? Ben Rothlesberger that’s why Tomlin never had. Now that the championship team he inherited from Cower is gone and Ben is gone I think your seeing Tomlinson’s coaching ability at work. It SUCKS!!

  8. Jim

    November 11, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    Tomlin is only keeping Canada around so he has a scape goat. He’s not doing what is best for the team, he’s doing what’s best to save his own but.

  9. Carl Fredrickson

    November 11, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    I have to agree Tomlin s success is based on big Ben and now that he is gone we need a coach who can actually coach.
    Steelers it is time to clean house and get some coaches who know how to win.
    Canada is not the answer and Tomlin is not doing what is needed to right the ship
    Let’s get back to the winning tradition of Lombardi trophies and kicking s$$
    We have the talent we just need some leadership

  10. Greg belcher

    November 11, 2022 at 4:15 pm

    Tomlin has never wanted to give any coordinator the control that you have to give. He doesn’t trust them to do what they were hired to do without his input. Maybe now that he doesn’t have big Ben to cover his coaching flaws and he starts having losing seasons, he might realize they they are coordinators for a reason

  11. Mj

    November 11, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    And replace Coach T with who? All you haters need to pause! No team wins without a quarterback. We have a fuckn rookie QB & a new OC injuries to out 2 best defensive players not to mention the AFC Is a gauntlet! Tomlin is a great coach period!

  12. DE

    November 12, 2022 at 9:19 am

    Tomlin does not know how to run a clock to his advantage is one problem and the other is the majority of Canada’s plays are designed to be short and out along the sidelines you can not have plays like that and not get first downs. Hence causing to many 3 and outs and if they do make the play they stop the clock. They need to use the whole field. Just a thought.

  13. Scott

    November 12, 2022 at 9:46 am

    Fire Matt Canada and stop hiring within. Get a real offensive coordinator.

  14. Sean Ganoe

    November 12, 2022 at 11:08 am

    Matt Canada is a joke. I’ve been a Steelers fan from birth. But watching them play is like watching the Keystone Cops play ball. Fire Canada and Tomlin

  15. Drew Forsythe

    November 12, 2022 at 11:37 am

    Delusional fan^ that thinks Tomlin is a great coach. He was given a top 3 roster for years. Teams that could make the playoffs on autopilot. he either guided them to an embarrassing exit to lesser team or underperformed to 8-8 “winning season” and missed the playoffs. He was hyped by the media bcuz the color of his skin while underperformed for a decade. He single handedly turned the Steelers from a “super bowl or bust” team to a “we didn’t have a losing season” team. Not replacing him bcuz “who else is better” is literally settling for never competing for another super bowl.

  16. Jermain C Williamson

    November 12, 2022 at 12:20 pm

    This article is a stretch, you’re reading too much into conversations that they are required to have with the media which by in large is purely PR spin. If Canada knew what the issue was we would see changes but we haven’t. This is the same scheme from last year, not even a wrinkle to hint at something different.

  17. David Liddle

    November 12, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    Drew you said it best my friend. What’s the good in never having a losing season if you lose the first or scone playoff game every year you make it.

  18. Dan

    November 12, 2022 at 12:36 pm

    Time to fire both. The offense isn’t even trying to score points. Tomlin is consistently out coached and lacks awareness of situations like the clock. At least there is Flores waiting in the wings to cover the rest of the season.

  19. Mike

    November 12, 2022 at 1:20 pm

    To little to late for both of them. Canada probably is telling the truth because Tomlin is a control freak. Look at the decline In the coordinators over the years. They went from good NFL guys to high school coaches that Tomlin can control. Established guys will Tomlin to kick rocks and go find another job. The last 3 probably aren’t even in the league anymore.

  20. Troy Larkin

    November 12, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    Higher Frank wright he needs a job and he’s a hell of a coach just not a head coach put him as offensive coordinator and get rid of Canada sorry about the spelling but it’s a voice text but everybody knows who’s I’m talking about go Steelers

  21. Clay-STEELERSFAN

    November 12, 2022 at 3:44 pm

    Matt Canada is the problem, stop pointing fingers at everyone else besides yourself.. you suck as an OC, that’s just the truth to it.. take accountability for your trash style of calling plays… the nerves of this guy pointing fingers..

  22. Mitch Johns

    November 12, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    I have been disgusted with the play calling of Matt Canada last season, and nothing has changed except it is much more conservative, predictable, and one dimensional … that before the game even starts the probability will be that the Steelers’ will have only one quarter of a good game offense. As time goes on in this season, it is plainly obvious that Tomlin is either incompetent to make decisions or his ego interferes in making coaching changes for success. I have to ask if the owner Ronney is ‘sleeping’ or does he not care?

  23. JASON STAHURA

    November 12, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    Yes Canada blows and is one of the least inventive coaches in the NFL. But there is only one reason why the Steelers are where they are and that is from ignoring drafting O-Lineman in first 2 rounds of the draft for the past 10 years. Starting 3rd & 4th round rookies mixed with low cost free agent lineman equals no running game, no play action, and no time in pocket. Our line gets zero push and almost never get to second level in run plays.

  24. Benjamin Ford

    November 13, 2022 at 6:52 am

    This team isn’t getting anywhere with canaduhs play calling gonna b a high draft pick cause 5-12 at best with this

  25. James Chamberlain

    November 13, 2022 at 2:54 pm

    Canada wants Mason at QB Mitch and Kenny don’t read the field and process fast enough nor do either one have the arm to push the ball down the field Mason does

  26. Stillerfanatic

    November 16, 2022 at 5:38 pm

    As others have stated before, Tomlin is not a great coach. Gets beaten in the first round IF they make it to the playoffs. He has zero clock management skills. Like the old saying “people hire people like them” Tomlin/Canada a prime example.

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