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Steelers fire OC Matt Canada; switch to split duties

By Jared Smola | Updated on Tue, 21 Nov 2023, 10:20 AM EST

The Steelers have fired OC Matt Canada, who has been running the unit since 2021. In that time, Pittsburgh has ranked 21st, 26th, and 28th (so far this year) in scoring. Each season has found the offense ranking 28th in yards per play. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that the team plans to promote RBs coach Eddie Faulkner to OC but hand play-calling duties to QBs coach Mike Sullivan. Faulkner has coached Steelers RBs since 2019 (and previously served in the same role for the team in 2012). His only OC experience to date has been with Ball State in 2009-10. Sullivan has been coaching at the college level or higher for 30 years. He has been in the NFL since 2002, including stints as Buccaneers OC (2012-13) and Giants OC (2016-17). Those offenses finished -- in order -- 13th, 30th, 26th, and 31st in scoring; eighth, 32nd, 24th, and 25th in yards per play. Sullivan didn't get great QB play across those offenses. He started with fourth-season Josh Freeman in Tampa, and then got primarily Mike Glennon the following year. His two seasons at the Giants' offensive helm came in Eli Manning's age-35 and age-36 campaigns. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo says Sullivan has a "strong relationship" with Steelers QB Kenny Pickett, but the new guy probably isn't an upgrade on those previous situations. The switch should be positive for usable skill-position Steelers, though. Canada never won as a play caller and often sported questionable run-pass splits given the output. This year's Steelers also should find upside in a softening schedule. According to FTN's Aaron Schatz, Pittsburgh faced the league's toughest schedule so far this year by total defensive DVOA. Over a full season, the 2023 schedule to date would rank third-toughest of any team since 1981. You can see the negative fantasy impacts of those opponents on our Strength of Schedule pages. The remaining schedule ranks fifth-best for RB scoring and ninth-best for WRs. (Just 17th for TEs, though.) We'll see whether the run-pass splits change. That question plus Pickett's limitations make the WRs tough to get excited about. RB Najee Harris looks interesting, though -- especially because his trade cost has been driven down by meager production and Jaylen Warren's recent numbers.

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Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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