Two consecutive finishes as the NFL's 23rd-ranked offense won't cost Matt Canada his job.
Canada will return as Steelers offensive coordinator in 2023, the team confirmed on Wednesday, per multiple local reports.
Canada has been under fire seemingly since he rose to offensive coordinator in 2021. The criticism has been at least somewhat deserved, as Pittsburgh's offense has deteriorated over the last three years into a bottom-third unit. Their decline wasn't just on Canada, though: The slide from the NFL's top five began in 2018, and coincided with the final years of the Ben Roethlisberger era (and the departures of Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell).
Perhaps all Canada needed was a young, athletic quarterback willing to extend plays with his feet. Pittsburgh's offense took small steps toward a brighter future in 2022 with Kenny Pickett under center, breaking 200 passing yards in four of his starts (and nearly a fifth, in which he finished with 195 yards and one touchdown in Week 18). The Steelers gradually became a more effective offense with Pickett, and with young talents like George Pickens, Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth intact, Pittsburgh should logically be better in 2023, especially if their rebuilt offensive line improves next season.
Steelers' fans issues with Canada concerned two key areas: Total output and situational decision-making. Too often in the past two seasons, the Steelers settled for passes short of the line to gain on third down, and their offense generally lagged behind an opportunistic defense that finished with the most interceptions in the NFL.
Canada will get another season to prove the Steelers' struggles were little more than growing pains in a transitional period for the franchise. The pieces are there, but Canada will soon be required to prove he can properly direct the offense toward greater success.