I’m starting to think the Matt Canada experiment isn’t going to work out for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Last season, the Steelers had just the No. 21 scoring offense in the NFL with Canada calling plays.
The feeling was that part of the reason the offense struggled was because Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t the best quarterback to run Canada’s offensive system.
Canada’s system, which uses lots of shifts and motions, typically operates smoother with a somewhat mobile quarterback.
The expectation was that the Canada/Mitch Trubisky combination would lead to a more explosive offense in Pittsburgh this season.
So far, though, that hasn’t been the case.
The Steelers are averaging 18.5 points per game through the first two weeks of the season.
And after just two games, there are plenty of fans itching to see rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett under center.
The only issue is that Canada might be the real problem here.
And that shouldn’t be a surprise. We know Canada didn’t work out at LSU because of his offensive system, which led to a tense situation in Baton Rouge (pre-Joe Burrow days).
It’s inevitable that Pittsburgh will turn to Pickett. It’s obviously still TBD when that happens, but it’s going to happen.
But if Canada is still the offensive coordinator when that happens (next year, specifically), how effective will Pickett be?
I don’t know if Mike Tomlin will fire Canada after this year — there’s still a lot of season left to be played.
But regardless of whether or not Canada is let go, the Steelers need to get current Nebraska offensive coordinator Mark Whipple on staff in some capacity.
Whipple was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Pittsburgh from 2019 to 2021. He has a great relationship with Pickett and is partially responsible for his development into a first-round draft pick.
“He helped get me to this stage,” said Pickett last December (via The Progress News). “It doesn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of time, a lot of reps in practice, a lot of meeting time. We were always on the same page this year. I just had a really good feeling about the game plan. I felt like I was a huge part of the game plan, and we’d go through every single call. We just grew together. And to have this as our last season together, it was really special.”
Pittsburgh would be wise to bring Whipple in as a passing game coordinator or some kind of offensive assistant/consultant. He could then help the Steelers get the most out of Pickett.
Whipple clearly had a huge impact on Pickett at Pittsburgh. And he’s probably going to be looking for a new job at the end of this season as Nebraska will be hiring a new head coach (the Cornhuskers fired Scott Frost earlier this month).
I’m sure the New York native, who previously worked as the Steelers’ quarterbacks coach from 2004 to 2006 (he wasn’t retained by Mike Tomlin), wouldn’t mind returning to the East Coast.
It seems like a no-brainer move that Pittsburgh has to make.
Featured image via Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports