The Pittsburgh Steelers came into their Week 11 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals looking to sweep the season series and set themselves up to make a November and December playoff run once again. Unfortunately, the Steelers were not only outplayed but outcoached yet again. Bengals players were even reportedly saying that they knew which plays the Steelers were going to call.
Not only is this frustrating for Steelers fans, but it should be a complete embarrassment to the entire coaching staff and the front office. With a defense that has many star players in their prime and an offense full of young talent, there has never been a more crucial time for a top-tier coaching staff than right now. The guy the Steelers call on to run the offense, however, is making this unit take steps backward instead of forward.
The biggest black eye on the coaching staff is Steelers offensive coordinator, Matt Canada. The offense has been one of the worst in the entire NFL and the playcalling is seemingly getting worse by the week. Although the Steelers managed to score a season-high 30 points, they never really seemed to find their rhythm entirely offensively. Being ranked 28th in the NFL in points and after 11 weeks of misery, it is certain that the Steelers must move on from Canada this off-season and find an outside hire for the offensive coordinator position.
Who Should The Steelers Target As Their Next Offensive Coordinator?
It is clear that Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin is not an offensive-minded coach which has been a bad combination due to the subpar offensive coordinator hirings the Steelers have made in recent years. The consistent “hire from within” strategy needs to be kicked to the curb and the front office needs to look at several external candidates who work with head coaches that continue to produce firepower offenses year in and year out. We’re going to purposely leave off the most obvious choice in Frank Reich because everyone knows his name.
One of the biggest surprises out of the NFL this season has been the Seattle Seahawks and their recent success after losing Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos the last off-season. Career backup quarterback Geno Smith has made a significant step forward this season and has been one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, which has been a surprise to all. A team that was originally predicted to finish last in the AFC West could very well be on its way to winning the division.
A lot of the credit has to be given to long-time Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll, who has been one of the best offensive minds in all of football for quite some time. But one guy who could be a hot commodity this off-season is Seahawks Quarterbacks Coach Dave Canales. Although Canales has only been the quarterbacks coach for half of a season, he has been on the Seahawks coach staff for 13 seasons. Before he was in Seattle, he was on Carroll’s coaching staff for one season at the University Of Southern California.
If Canales is available this off-season, he would be a sneaky good hire for the Steelers and he could bring a lot to the table and experience that could help rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett develop in his second year in the league.
Shane Day, the current quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers is another candidate the Steelers should look to pursue this off-season. Day is in his second season working with Chargers Quarterback Justin Herbert who has seen a significant amount of success in his first few seasons in the NFL.
In his first season, he helped coach the top passing offense in the AFC. His success and experience could pay huge dividends for the Steelers and giving him an entire offense to run and lead could play a crucial role in the development of Pickett and the entire passing offense as a whole. Although Day doesn’t have the track record of Canales in Seattle, he would bring a completely new look to the Steelers’ offense.
The only college coach who makes the list is the Ohio State Buckeyes Offensive Coordinator and Tight Ends Coach Kevin Wilson. Wilson and the Buckeyes, consistently have one of the most electrifying offenses in college football. Before he was at Ohio State, he was the head coach for the Indiana Hoosiers. Wilson is currently in his fifth season at Ohio State and it looks as if the Buckeyes are destined to make yet another run in the college football playoffs.
Wilson has had many NFL players go through his system at Ohio State and the Steelers should definitely keep him on their radar this off-season. Although Wilson’s success has come at the collegiate level, he has produced multiple first-round picks and would bring a completely different look to the Steelers offense.
Bottom line is that the Steelers simply cannot hire from within. They are one of the very few franchises that simply will not hire coordinators outside of the organization, and Tomlin simply does not have the coaching tree to make that sustainable for long periods of time. The Steelers front office needs to pull out the checkbook and bring in an outside coach who will be given complete control of the offense, and that can coach to his players’ strengths and not force his players to play to his style of coaching.
What do you think? Would you take any one of these three coaches as the next Steelers offensive coordinator? If not, who would you hire to fill Matt Canada’s shoes? Tell us what you think in the comment section below or on my Twitter @collinlschmitt.