Home Steelers 2022 Season Steelers’ Offensive Woes Rest on the Shoulders of Mike Tomlin

Steelers’ Offensive Woes Rest on the Shoulders of Mike Tomlin

by Steeldad
Tomlin steelcityblitz.com

The world of sports today is filled with conspiracy theories. Some have merit, some are so outlandish that you feel dirty for considering them and some fall in the middle. Pittsburgh Steelers’ Head Coach Mike Tomlin has had to deal with his fair share of issues over his tenure but conspiracy theories? Not so much. What is absolute fact is that Tomlin is 100% responsible for the hiring of Matt Canada. Did he hire him because he gave Tomlin’s son a scholarship to play at Maryland when Canada was the head coach there? That’s in the past and for you to decide. We have far bigger problems to worry about right now in the present.

In 2020, Matt Canada was out of work. He had become the interim head coach at Maryland in 2018 and led the Terrapins to a 5-7 record. He was replaced by Mike Locksley and for a moment, he reverted back to his original job as the offensive coordinator. That didn’t last long however as Locksley replaced Canada with Scottie Montgomery as the OC. Ironically, Montgomery used to be the wide receivers’ coach with Tomlin and the Steelers from 2010 to 2012.

Tomlin saw his son’s former coach was available and hired him as the team’s new QB Coach. After Randy Fichtner was not brought back following that season, Canada was elevated to Offensive Coordinator. His fit with Ben Roethlisberger was about as good as putting a square peg into a round hole. Canada’s offensive system was not geared toward Big Ben and vice-versa. After seven games this season, we can now look back upon Roethlisberger’s 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and marvel how he was able to do that considering what he had to deal with.

Fast forward to now. The Steelers drafted Kenny Pickett who seems to fit Canada’s “mobile quarterback system” perfectly. Yet Canada’s offense resembles a middle school flag football offense without the actual scoring part. The creativity is laughable. Two plays this past week were designed for Zach Gentry. Gentry has made himself into a serviceable second tight end in the NFL but there’s no way in hell any coordinator should be dialing up plays for him. Did Canada forget that Pat Freiermuth was in the line-up this past Sunday Night?

Further proof of Canada’s ineptitude is the fact that his opening drives seem to be pretty decent. There’s misdirection, the QB is on the move and defenses are generally on their heels a bit. What’s the problem then? The problem is that when defenses adjust, Canada does not. In fact he actually goes in reverse. The creativity is gone as is the ‘moving of the pocket’ and his adjustments are non-existent.

Players are frustrated. You can hear it when they speak. Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson and George Pickens all have that “we know what we want to say but we won’t say it” feel to them when interviewed. They dance around the elephant in the room better than most would I know that.

You can blame a lot of things on the offensive line (which is improving) or having a rookie QB (Mitchell Trubisky hasn’t fared much better), but this entire mess falls directly on the shoulders of Mike Tomlin. He brought Canada here to the Steel City and now he has to live with him because the Steelers just don’t fire coaches in mid-season. This doesn’t mean he won’t turn over play-calling to QB Coach Mike Sullivan or OL Coach Pat Meyer but you and I would never ever know that. That kind of stuff stays ‘in-house.’

Tomlin can be stubborn at times – part of that is him and part of that is the way the Steelers do things – and he isn’t changing who he is now. So get used to complaining about Matt Canada for the next 11 weeks because he’s not going anywhere. Make no mistake however that this is on Mike Tomlin and there’s nothing conspiratorial about it.


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