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 caller, Josina Anderson, senior NFL insider at CBS Sports HQ. Essentially, the Steelers are splitting the offensive game planning following Canada’s shot.
Tomlin later discussed the firing, saying the decision to secede from Canada “was mine and mine alone.”
“I didn’t make this decision lightly,” Tomlin explained (by ESPN.com). “It is my role to absorb and protect those I work with. That is not how I feel. I do not blame or deflect in any way. … Just rest assured that this decision has not was taken lightly. I’ve got a lot of respect for Matt personally and professionally.”
Tomlin says there were “a lot of layers” to the shot and took into account the 13-10 Week 11 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
“I just think you know when you’re there to be frank and concise about the answer,” Tomlin said. “Again, I don’t say this flippantly, I don’t take the situation lightly at all. But just having been in the role I’ve been in for a while lets you know when you’re there. A totality of a myriad of variables.”
Pittsburgh never gained more than 400 yards of offense in a game under Canada, who was the Steelers’ offensive coordinator for three seasons. They have failed to reach more than 400 total yards in 58 consecutive games (the second-longest such streak in NFL history).
The Steelers finished 29th in points per possession and 30th in yards per possession under Canada. They finished 28th in total yards and 28th in points scored in Canada’s three seasons.
Tomlin made it clear that struggling quarterback Kenny Pickett would remain the starter. Tomlin also complimented the second-year player’s work ethic.
“This guy will do anything and everything,” Tomlin said of Pickett. “He works extremely hard. … Justice in football exists. These guys usually get what they’re looking for. That’s why I always remain optimistic about the trajectory of his growth and development.”
Pickett has the lowest passing touchdown rate (1.9%) of any quarterback with over 500 attempts since 1970. The Steelers are averaging 16.6 points per game this season, 28th in the NFL, and averaged just 0.7 passing touchdowns per game this season, 31st in the NFL.
When asked if these next seven games would be crucial to Pickett’s development, Tomlin said: “My focus is on this week in terms of Kenny’s development. We’re not urinating on fire, man.”
Somehow the Steelers are 6-4 despite being outscored in each of their first 10 games.