The Pittsburgh Steelers have fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada, the team announced Tuesday. Running backs coach Eddie Faulkner is expected to take over as offensive coordinator, with quarterback coach Mike Sullivan as the play-caller per, CBS Sports HQ Senior NFL Insider Josina Anderson. Essentially the Steelers are splitting the offensive game planning in the wake of Canada’s firing.
Tomlin later discussed the firing, saying the decision to part ways with Canada “was mine and mine alone.”
“I did not come to this decision lightly,” Tomlin explained (per ESPN.com). “It’s my role to absorb and protect those that I work with. This doesn’t feel like that. I’m not assigning blame or deflecting in any way. … Just rest assured that this decision was not taken lightly. I’ve got a lot of respect for Matt personally and professionally.”
Tomlin says there were a “lot of layers” to the firing and took into account Week 11’s 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
“I just think you know when you’re there to be blunt and short about the answer,” Tomlin said. “Again, not saying that flippantly not taking the situation lightly at all. But just having been in the role that I’ve been in for some time you just know when you’re there. A totality of a myriad of variables.”
Pittsburgh never gained 400-plus yards of offense in a game under Canada, who was the Steelers offensive coordinator for three seasons. They failed to reach 400-plus total yards in 58 consecutive games (second-longest such streak in NFL history).
The Steelers were 29th in points per possession and 30th in yards per possession under Canada. They were 28th in total yards and 28th in points scored in Canada’s three seasons.
Tomlin made it clear struggling quarterback Kenny Pickett will remain the starter. Tomlin also complimented the second-year player’s work ethic.
“This guy will do any and everything,” Tomlin said of Pickett. “He works extremely hard. … There’s such a thing as football justice. Those guys usually get what they’re looking for. That’s why I remain consistently optimistic about the trajectory of his growth and development.”
Pickett has the lowest pass touchdown rate (1.9%) by any quarterback with 500-plus attempts since 1970. The Steelers average 16.6 points per game this season, 28th in the NFL, and average just 0.7 pass touchdowns per game this season, 31st in the NFL.
When asked if these next seven games are crucial to Pickett’s development, Tomlin responded, “I’m focused on this week in terms of the development of Kenny. We’re not urinating on the fire, man.”
Somehow, the Steelers are 6-4 despite being outgained in each of their first 10 games.