Home Steelers 2023 Season Pickett and Canada Grapple With Fan Discontent Following Loss to 49ers

Pickett and Canada Grapple With Fan Discontent Following Loss to 49ers

by SCB 2019

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ dream of a flawless preseason, brimming with boundless optimism, came crashing down in a resounding thud during a painful 30-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The stark reality of defeat now looms large, and it’s a bitter pill for the players and their devoted fan base.

In the aftermath of this event, the spotlight falls squarely on quarterback Kenny Pickett and offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Criticism and disappointment from fans have been swift and unrelenting, with many questioning the team’s performance and the direction in which it’s headed.

Kenny Pickett’s Performance Critique

In the highly anticipated season-opener against the San Francisco 49ers, Kenny Pickett, the Steelers’ second-year quarterback, faced a daunting challenge. He struggled to find his rhythm throughout the game, resulting in two costly interceptions.

These turnovers halted potential scoring drives but also provided the 49ers with an advantageous field position. His average of just five yards per reception further highlighted Pickett’s difficulties, underscoring his challenges in effectively moving the ball downfield.

The young quarterback’s struggles were exacerbated by the formidable 49ers’ defense, renowned as one of the best in the league. Their relentless pressure and astute coverage made it exceptionally difficult for Pickett to make precise throws and read the field.

Critical moments have emerged throughout the game that could have altered the match’s course. One such pivotal moment was the 49ers’ Drake Jackson’s sack of Pickett, a play that resulted in a loss of yardage and a shift of momentum in favor of the 49ers.

Additionally, there were instances where Pickett’s decision-making appeared to influence the game’s outcome. Whether it was a misread in coverage or a hurried throw under pressure, these moments emphasized the fine margins between success and adversity in professional football.

You can find more here for a detailed analysis of his performance and the team’s overall strategy.

Matt Canada’s Offensive Strategy Examination

Since assuming the offensive coordinator position in 2021, Matt Canada has been a focal point of criticism. Despite his tenure, the Steelers’ offensive performance has consistently fallen below league-average standards.

In 2021 and 2022, the team ranked in the bottom tier for total yardage and scoring offense. This decline from Ben Roethlisberger’s final year to Kenny Pickett’s rookie season raised significant concerns about the effectiveness of Canada’s offensive strategies.

In 2021, the Steelers ranked 23rd in the league, averaging 315.4 yards per game. Their scoring offense fared slightly better, placing 21st with an average of 20.2 points per game. Unfortunately, their offensive challenges persisted into the following year. 

In 2022, the Steelers’ offense remained near the bottom, ranking 23rd in yards per game with 322.6. However, their scoring offense took a noticeable dip, dropping to 26th in the league with an average of 18.1 points per game. 

These statistics reflected a concerning trend of declining offensive performance under Matt Canada’s leadership as the offensive coordinator.

The start of the 2023 season didn’t bode well for Canada’s offensive strategies. The Steelers emerged from Week 1 as one of the lowest-scoring teams, managing seven points against the 49ers.

A crucial aspect of the Steelers’ offensive plan was establishing a consistent rhythm and succeeding on third downs. Unfortunately, they fell short on both fronts. The team went a dismal 5 of 15 on third downs, exacerbating their challenges. 

The game’s outset was marred by five consecutive three-play drives, including four three-and-outs and a drive that ended with an interception.

In light of the mounting challenges and criticisms toward Canada, the question arises: Will the Steelers contemplate changing the offensive coordinator position? While the possibility of a change exists, it’s improbable to occur mid-season.

The Path Forward: Adjustments and Redemption

Kenny Pickett and Matt Canada will undoubtedly prioritize specific areas for improvement in their practice sessions and game preparations. It may include Pickett refining his decision-making under pressure, improving his rapport with the receiving corps, and honing his ability to read complex defensive schemes.

On the other hand, Matt Canada might revisit his offensive strategies to ensure they better align with Pickett’s strengths and the team’s overall goals. 

Pickett and Canada must foster a collaborative partnership to revitalize the Steelers’ offensive performance. They may work closely together to tailor the playbook, identifying plays that capitalize on Pickett’s skill set and exploit opponent weaknesses. 

Effective communication between the quarterback and offensive coordinator will be pivotal in executing a more efficient game plan.

Recognizing the importance of fan support, Pickett and Canada may take proactive steps to address the concerns voiced by Steelers fans. It could involve candidly acknowledging their performance shortcomings and sharing their commitment to improving. Engaging with the fan base through media interviews and social media can help bridge the gap between the team and its supporters.

Moreover, actions speak louder than words, and the best way for Pickett and Canada to regain fan confidence is through on-field results. Subsequent games allow the Steelers to showcase tangible progress and growth in their offensive performance. Delivering consistent performances that lead to victories will be the most convincing way to rekindle the fan base’s faith.

Final Thoughts

Amidst the trials and tribulations, there remains a glimmer of hope for Pickett and Canada. The NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint, providing ample opportunities for growth, adjustment, and redemption. The road ahead is challenging but paved with the potential for triumph and resurgence.

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