Matt Canada is lucky the Pittsburgh Steelers played a road game in Week 4 — otherwise, the third-year offensive coordinator likely would have heard the same sort of “Fire Canada!” chants from the Pittsburgh faithful that rained down upon him in Week 2.
Canada has to be on the hot seat following the Steelers’ 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans. And if he’s not, it says a lot about Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh organization’s refusal to change their ways.
Steelers OC Matt Canada Among NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 4
Tomlin has never fired a coordinator in-season. That tracks with how the Steelers’ franchise runs its operation.
This is a family-run team. They’ve had three head coaches since 1969. They don’t make rash decisions.
But that might have to change. Pittsburgh’s offense has been among the NFL‘s worst through four games this season and for the better part of Canada’s tenure.
After Sunday’s loss, Tomlin indicated he’s willing to shake things up.
“Hell yeah, we’ve got to make some changes,” Tomlin said. “That was an ugly product we put out there today, and so we’re not going to do the same things and hope for a different outcome. What those changes are, we’ll put together a plan in preparation this week.”
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) October 1, 2023
It would be nearly unconscionable for the Steelers not to consider parting ways with Canada, who spent his entire career in the college ranks before becoming Pittsburgh’s quarterbacks coach in 2020 and being promoted to coordinator the following year.
Here’s how the Steelers have ranked in key offensive metrics since Canada began calling plays in 2021:
- 28th in points per game (18.8)
- 31st in yards per play (4.85)
- 23rd in EPA per play
- 28th in offensive success rate
Things have somehow gotten even worse in 2023:
- 29th in points per game (15.5)
- 27th in yards per play (4.57)
- 32nd in EPA per play
- 31st in offensive success rate
Pittsburgh’s Week 4 effort against Houston was a masterclass in poor play-calling. The Steelers gained only 225 total yards, averaged just 4.0 yards per play, and didn’t cross the 50-yard line until the third quarter.
As Sheil Kapadia of The Ringer noted, Canada’s Steelers offenses have now gone 39 consecutive games without posting a 400-yard day. During that time, other teams have put up 400+ yards 295 times.
Canada — who told the CBS broadcast crew that Pittsburgh’s offense isn’t built to mount comebacks (always a good sign, right?) — tried to convert a 4th-and-1 on Sunday by putting Kenny Pickett in shotgun and calling a “levels” passing concept.
Kenny Pickett's pocket movement is awful. He sacks himself or drifts into defenders way too often, just like in college.
He ends up getting hurt on a 4th and 1 stop, unfortunately. pic.twitter.com/AjWrYEktWr
— Ian Valentino (@NFLDraftStudy) October 1, 2023
Pickett had no open receivers to throw to, tried to run, and ended up suffering a knee injury on that play. Fortunately, Pickett is not believed to have torn his ACL, so he should be able to return this season.
Ironically, Pickett’s injury could end up saving Canada’s job, as the Steelers might not be interested in changing quarterbacks and play-callers simultaneously.
But Canada has to be on an incredibly short leash, and it won’t be a surprise if Tomlin ultimately has to make a difficult decision.
More NFL Hot Seat Updates
Matt Eberflus, Chicago Bears (0-4)
We covered Matt Eberflus’ disaster of a 2023 start last week — and then the Bears decided to cough up a 21-point lead to the similarly winless Denver Broncos. Chicago could clean house sooner rather than later.
Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders (1-3)
After making some of the season’s worst head coaching decisions in Week 3, Josh McDaniels helped rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell keep things close against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday — but then he seemed to throw O’Connell under the bus following a questionable late-game play call.
Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders (2-2)
Ron Rivera has officially lost his “Riverboat” nickname. Instead of going for a two-point conversion to win Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Rivera chose to go to overtime — where the Commanders subsequently lost. With Washington under new ownership, Rivera needs every win he can get.
Frank Reich, Carolina Panthers (0-4)
The Panthers looked better in Week 4 than in previous games, and Carolina won’t fire Frank Reich in his first season. But owner David Tepper probably didn’t envision a 0-4 start.