With the Pittsburgh Steelers moving on from offensive coordinator Matt Canada today, the big question is how the offense is going to look moving forward. Former NFL quarterback and current analyst Dan Orlovsky has a few ideas for how the offense should look moving forward, listing five ways the offense can improve with Canada now gone on NFL Live.
- Get rid of the missed assignments between QB and WR
- Feature George Pickens in the passing game more
- Tie things together: formation + plays
- Build passing game off inside zone and one-back power runs
- Screen game improvement landmarks.
As for No. 5, Orlovsky had quite a lot to say about the failed dump-off on what may or may not have been an intended screen pass to Jaylen Warren in Sunday’s game. The miscommunication issues on Sunday were also well-documented, in particular between QB Kenny Pickett and WR Diontae Johnson. Orlovsky dove deeper into tying things together with plays and formation, arguing the Steelers need to have more looks out of certain formations.
“There’s very little tying things together. So that’s gonna be a stress of, hey, we get in this formation, there should be multiple plays out of that formation and or those looks to keep the defense off balance,” Orlovsky said.
He praised Pittsburgh’s run game, which has been better in recent weeks. But he wants to see more looks and more play-action out of zone and power looks.
“They do actually run the football well in two situations, zone runs and one-back power. I don’t know that I actually saw a play-action out of that actual run look.”
Orlovsky emphasized it won’t be an “overnight fix” for Pittsburgh’s offense, but that they need to fix some of the scheme issues that have made them “outrageously predictable and vanilla” under Canada.
While the offense isn’t going to have any drastic changes, all five of Orlovsky’s ideas are things that could be implemented by Mike Sullivan and Eddie Faulkner to improve Pittsburgh’s offense. Of course, the onus is also going to be on the offense to execute, and that’s going to start with QB Kenny Pickett, who has really struggled in recent weeks. Even when guys are open, Pickett just isn’t seeing them or missing throws that an NFL quarterback should make.
But the offense has been incredibly boring and predictable under Canada, particularly over the last two years. It’s easy to tell what plays Pittsburgh is going to run just from seeing how they line up, and if the average fan can predict it from the coach, you can bet that an NFL defense is picking up on it and reading the plays. RB Najee Harris said after the game Sunday he thinks that defenses know what plays the Steelers are running before they actually run them, and that’s obviously a huge problem.
It’s one that Sullivan and Faulkner will look to fix as they try to take this offense to new heights and elevate their play from the first 10 games of the season. The Steelers have a lot of dynamic weapons on offense, but the fact that they can’t get the ball to their playmakers and put them in a position to succeed is something that needs to change.
We’ll get our first look at what changes Faulkner and Sullivan implement on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, and we’ll see if the offense is able to execute better than they have been, as well. If the offense can improve just a bit, the Steelers should be a playoff team. We’ll see if that can happen and if they look to improve some of the areas that Orlovsky mentioned.
You can watch the full NFL Live segment below: