Imagine this, Matt Canada is changing the offense, and actually becomes a competent play-caller in 2023. There would be no ceiling on how high the Steelers’ offense could soar. While this may seem like a fairy tale, Kenny Pickett is content with the new wrinkles in the offense.
Matt Canada in 2022
The Steelers’ offense was 26th in points per game in 2022. In no circumstance should the offense be that bad with the players on the roster. Although the quarterback play was very slow at the beginning of the year, the skill players are far too good to be near the bottom of the league.
There are two problems with Canada’s system. First, some of the plays are just not good concepts. Too often the Steelers have two or more receivers being guarded by one defender. The utilization of the jet sweep also can be wildly ineffective in certain games.
The bigger of the two issues is predictability, especially in the run game. The only run call that they were even above average in frequency was inside zone. It seemed like almost every first down would have a receiver in jet motion, and then inside zone to Najee Harris for three yards.
The Good Part of 2022
While last season may have seemed atrocious, it actually wasn’t too terrible. Using a statistic called expected points added (EPA) per play, we can eliminate some of the scoring variability. The Steelers rushing offense ranked 8th in EPA/play in 2022. The passing offense ranked 18th in the NFL.
This implies that the Steelers offense had a lot of bad luck in 2022. It also implies that the Steelers red zone offense needs some serious work.
The other extremely exciting stat is the EPA/play for the Steelers in the second half of the year. The Steelers’ offense ranked 5th in EPA/play from week 9 and on. If Canada can keep that efficiency up, the offense should be able to compete with anyone.
Rumors around the 2023 Offense
Obviously, none of the players are going to say anything too telling about what the offense will look like in the future. However, there have been multiple players speaking out about Matt Canada changing some things up.
In a Youtube interview with Post-Gazette sports, Pickett said this about the passing game: “I feel like the things we added are working really well out here.” He also stated that there were some plays removed from 2022 that didn’t work as well.
This is interesting because this is the first year that the system could truly be worked on. In Canada’s first year, Ben Roethlisberger pretty much took over the offense and did what he wanted. Then, 2022 was messy with Pickett coming in as a rookie and having to battle with Trubisky for starting reps. Now, both the coordinator and quarterback can work together to find something that works.
In addition to Pickett’s comments, backup quarterback Mason Rudolph stated that there was “Plenty of new concepts” that he has had to learn. Rudolph would know best, as he has been with the team before Canada.
Offenses are constantly evolving, and while the same thing was said last season, the Steelers should go into 2023 with a refreshed call sheet. Hopefully, Matt Canada is changing for the better, and the Steelers will be better because of it.
Stay tuned for more exciting NFL content, including roster moves, in depth analysis, and more news from around the league.
Feature image courtesy of Steelers.com
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