The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to earn a hard-fought victory over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 16 at Acrisure Stadium. It seemed like the cosmos was throwing every challenge it could find at the Steelers. First the death of beloved Pittsburgh legend, Franco Harris and then frigid weather moving in that left concerns regarding the offense’s ability to move the ball in those conditions.
However, former Raven and Jaguar Wide Receiver, Steve Smith spoke on the NFL Network after the game about something else that is holding the team back, and that something is their Offensive Coordinator, Matt Canada.
Steelers Matt Canada Is A Liability
Today, Smith appeared on the Pat McAfee Show where he was asked about his comments from Saturday. McAfee said no one was expecting the Steelers to win a Super Bowl this season. But did Smith think that the team has a chance to be back in the top tier in the next couple of years?
“I think, you know, Mike Tomlin is a fantastic coach, but I think offensively they are held back a little bit. Matt Canada, the offensive coordinator, he just leaves a lot to be desired on the offensive side of the ball,” Smith said.
After the Christmas Eve victory, Smith called Canada’s playing calling “Saturday-ish.” This is in reference to Canada’s history as a college-level coordinator. His first job in the pros was two seasons ago when he joined the Steelers as a quarterbacks coach. He was then promoted in 2021 to offensive coordinator when the Steelers did not renew Randy Fitchner’s contract. McAfee asked Smith to explain the “Saturday-ish” comment.
“I am really trying to work on not being completely disrespectful,” Smith said.
But he did add that professional football is a billion-dollar industry with coaches making a lot of money and there is an expectation to perform at a certain level.
“When you have a Kenny Pickett, you have a George Pickens, a Najee Harris, so many good players, you have a Diontae Johnson, and yet your offense for 57 minutes looks very pedestrian. Sometimes it’s just hard to figure that out. I’m trying to figure that out, the why, by watching game plans. To seal a game with (Connor) Heyward the ghost or end around jet sweep, was an outstanding play. But you gotta have some of those plays throughout the game. To be able to win, you don’t always want to go down to the wire, that’s heart attack football,” Smith explained.
Smith further elaborated, echoing the sentiment of many fans, by saying that he wants to just watch a game and know this team is going to show up. He said the current offense doesn’t seem to come with a rhythm and it doesn’t seem to come with a clear cadence either.
He also said that the offense looks very predictable at times. This is something that has been said by multiple opponents throughout the season. This included comments by Germaine Pratt from the Cincinnati Bengals. After the Bengals won, he said the Steelers “like to do the same plays over and over.” It also came up after they beat the Indianapolis Colts. During the game, a Colts player was clearly heard saying, “it’s the same plays.”
Smith ended the segment by saying that the Steelers are in a division with very talented quarterbacks including Joe Burrow in Cincinnati, Lamar Jackson in Baltimore and Deshaun Watson in Cleveland. He feels that Pickett has the skills to compete well and thrive in that group. Smith is basing all of this on his 16-year, professional opinion in the NFL and his position now as an analyst but to be competitive the Steelers have to have a better offensive coordinator.
What do you think of Smith’s elaborated comments? Do you think Matt Canada will return next season to finish out his contract? Do you think he is the Steelers’ biggest issue? Comment below.