UPDATE (3:18 PM): Steelers’ spokesman Burt Lauten confirms that Canada is remaining on staff as the team’s offensive coordinator.
Our original story is below.
A short time ago, we wrote about Gerry Dulac’s mailbag response that pointed to the team keeping OC Matt Canada in place. It ended with Dulac leaving a hanging “In fact…” that didn’t elaborate.
Now, Dulac has elaborated. According to his latest article for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he reports Canada will be the Steelers’ offensive coordinator in 2023.
“The Steelers have no plans to replace offensive coordinator Matt Canada and he is expected to return to Mike Tomlin’s coaching staff in 2023, sources have told the Post-Gazette.
Despite a public outcry to fire him and numerous rumors about his coaching status, Canada will return for his third season as offensive coordinator — something, apparently, that was never really in doubt after the offense continued to show signs of improvement late in the season. ”
As Dulac notes, this apparently wasn’t a tough decision for Mike Tomlin and the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s offense improved as the team went 7-2 down the stretch, though they still finished 26th in points per game.
Despite many fans wanting Canada fired, he’ll return for his third season as the team’s OC next season. His contract runs through 2023 and his job will be re-evaluated after the year. The Steelers have a long history of not firing coaches. Instead, they simply choose not to renew contracts. The last time the team fired a coordinator came in 2003 when DC Tim Lewis was let go at the end of the year, having a different philosophy than head coach Bill Cowher.
Canada was hired in 2020 to be the team’s quarterbacks coach after they went without one in 2019. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2021 to replace the outgoing Randy Fichtner, a longtime friend of Mike Tomlin and one of his first hires in 2007. Pittsburgh ranked just 21st in points per game in 2021 and fell to 26th in 2022. But the offense found an identity through its running game and played better ball control while making fewer mistakes over the latter half of the season.
A Tuesday report suggested Tomlin hadn’t made any final coaching decisions yet. But it sounds like either Tomlin had or has now. Canada will run the show for at least another year, though the Steelers’ offense will have to produce more than they have over the past two years.
With a young offense not expected to have much turnover, the Steelers are clearly prioritizing continuity in both players and personal coaching. There don’t appear to be any sweeping coaching staff changes. Perhaps the only thing that’ll look different next year is the potential loss of Brian Flores, who has interviewed/been requested for interviews by three teams so far this offseason. One change Dulac notes is the loss of assistant Blaine Stewart, who is leaving for West Virginia, where his late father Bill Stewart once coached.