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Several Steelers’ Players Criticize Offensive Play-Calling After Week 2 Loss; Matt Canada Needs To Adjust

Jared Wickersham / Pittsburgh Steelers

Several Steelers’ Players Criticize Offensive Play-Calling After Week 2 Loss; Matt Canada Needs To Adjust

The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered a very frustrating loss on Sunday against the New England Patriots, which puts them at 1-1 after Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season. In many people’s eyes, including many Steelers’ players, the game was very winnable.

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Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback, Ahkello Witherspoon (#25) loses a jump ball for a New England Patriots touchdown in Week 2 at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA. | Boston.com

It is still very early in the season. To date, I don’t know any team in NFL history whose season was over after Week 2. However, with the Steelers only scoring two offensive touchdowns through two games, the season may be a painful one for Steeler Nation to watch.

The Steelers offense has been very lackluster the past couple seasons. Last year, there was some belief that it was due to an aging Ben Roethlisberger, who simply couldn’t make the same throws he could earlier in his career consistently. With a younger Mitch Trubisky taking over as the starting quarterback, the offense was expected to open up quite a bit and utilize all the weapons the team has to produce more plays down the field. That has not been the case thus far.

It isn’t just Steeler Nation that is starting to become frustrated with the play-calling, the players are frustrated with it as well. Many of them had comments after the game which criticized the offense in some way.

The formerly mentioned Trubisky was also interviewed after Sunday’s game and was asked what needs to happen to get more downfield and over the middle passing for the Steelers offense. He started his answer with a pretty straight forward answer:

“Just call concepts to get receivers there.”

Getting the ball into the middle of the field more often is something a lot of people have been asking the Steelers to do over the past several seasons. Matt Canada himself, who is the team’s offensive coordinator and play-caller, even briefly mentioned that the team needed to do more over the middle of the field, stating that they need to “throw it there.” That could be taken as the option is there, but that Trubisky isn’t taking it.

During interviews after the game, Trubisky wasn’t the only one to offer some comments that pointed towards play-calling being an issue. Third-year wide receiver, Chase Claypool also made some comments in regards to this:

“We can only do what they tell us to do and execute it.”

That is about as straight forward as it gets. Claypool has seemed to be a re-focused version of himself this season, as he has been strictly business so far on the field. He has minimized his celebrations, improved by refining the small details in his game, and has helped the team in multiple ways. So him saying comments like this definitely hold some merit this season.

 

Three Different Steelers’ Offensive Play-Makers Speaking Up Makes The Frustration A Trend Amongst The Team

As if two separate players making comments that point to the play-calling wasn’t enough, second-year tight end, Pat Freiermuth also had some general comments about the offense:

“We just got to do stuff that we’re comfortable with and do stuff that we do more consistently in practice. I think that we’re good at certain things and I think we need to get to those faster.”

What exactly Freiermuth was referring to is a bit unknown, but whatever it is can’t be what is taking place in games so far this season. He added additional comments that points towards wanting trust from the coaches, likely because of the conservative game plan.

Steelers Pat Freiermuth

Pittsburgh Steelers tight ends, Pat Freiermuth (#88) and Zach Gentry (#81) celebrate after Freiermuth catches the lone offensive score in Week 2 of the 2022 NFL regular season at Acrisure Stadium. | Steelers.com

“I think we just trust our quarterback and trust our guys to go down there and make plays. It’s just pretty simple, just trust each other.”

These are a lot of comments that just add fuel to a fire that was started in the middle of the 2021 NFL season. Throughout the first 19 games that Canada was the primary play-caller, the offense has not taken shape the way most would have hoped.

The Steelers desperately need to figure out their offense, and sooner rather than later. I wouldn’t expect drastic changes to the play-calling on a short week before a matchup with the division rival Cleveland Browns, so Steeler Nation may be in for more of the same in a few days. However, the long week after the game may be the perfect time to make some serious adjustments.

The majority of Canada’s coaching stops have lasted no more than one season, even though he has had success at times. If things don’t change soon, his stop in Pittsburgh may not last to the end of his second year as the OC.

 

Are you frustrated with the Steelers’ offensive performance and the play-calling from Matt Canada? Let us know below what you think needs to change for them to turn it around!

#SteelerNation

 

I’ve been a freelance sports writer for several years, centered around football, baseball, basketball, and fantasy sports. I’m born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio and a diehard Steelers fan. I love sharing my thoughts and opinions on all things sports, especially when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. I also received my BS in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University in 2016, and have a career in Material Research and Development. Follow me on Twitter!

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Shawn Damon

    September 20, 2022 at 12:18 am

    I think we need to change OCs. This is the same poor offense we ran last year. Teams know what we are going to do. They stack the box and want Mitch try to beat them. They don’t respect the deep pass at all because we never do it!

  2. Rick

    September 20, 2022 at 12:37 am

    He’s terrible, nuff said

  3. Steve Allen

    September 20, 2022 at 7:51 am

    It’s the same junk plays, over and over; the same dinks and dunks when you need 8 and the play is designed for 2. We have an OC with no accountability and no idea about how to run an offense. Stop throwing your quarterback under the bus when you don’t know what you’re doing! If the Steelers don’t fire this man, we’re looking at 6-10 at best.

  4. Karen Santos

    September 20, 2022 at 8:25 am

    Totally change needs to happen alot of talent on the roster

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