by Mike Pelaia, Courier Steelers Columnist
You wouldn’t think it to be possible. A loss over a bye week. Yet, that’s exactly what the Steelers did, they lost.
How? How do you lose on a bye week?
It’s quite simple, as the Steelers proved. You lose by not firing the worst coach in the league. No, not Mike Tomlin. Matt Canada.
Matt Canada should have been fired after last season, wasn’t, was allowed to coach an offense through eight games that ranks 28th in the league in total yards at this moment. They rank 31st in scoring, averaging a mere 15 points per game, which is half of what the top team in the league, the Chiefs, average and maybe my favorite of all stats, their wide receivers have less receiving yards combined than Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins.
All of this is unacceptable. And that’s where I do fault Mike Tomlin. Tomlin is a smart man. He has won a lot of games in the NFL over his career. He’s found a way to be .500 or better in every season he’s coached. He’s been to two Super Bowls, he’s won one. Yet, he hasn’t won one in 14 years and hasn’t been back in 12 years.
Tomlin is a highly competitive individual, as all coaches are. And for someone as competitive as Tomlin, who clearly has the passion and fire to win, it’s shocking he didn’t step up and pull the plug.
I realize, as we all should, that it’s not as simple as firing a coach and naming someone else as a replacement. But, if there is a guy on the staff that you think could be Canada’s successor, this would be the time for a trial run. There’s half a season left. The team is
going nowhere fast. Give it a trial by fire and see what happens. If it fails, you know your answer and find a full-time replacement in the offseason. If it succeeds, you have your guy and he’s begun working with young Kenny Pickett and Co. already. It’s not that hard of a concept. If the Colts can fire their head coach and bring in a guy from the TV booth to replace him, then the Steelers can certainly do this.
Tomlin’s loyalty is going to burn him here. No, Coach Tomlin won’t be fired after this season, regardless of what happens, but if he doesn’t turn this ship around, his seat will warm up heading into next season.
Canada must go. Period. It didn’t happen at the most opportune time of the year so I guess we’ll have to wait until the offseason comes and the Steelers are sitting at home with one of the most ineffective offenses they’ve ever seen.
HOW THE STEELERS/SAINTS WILL PLAY OUT…
The New Orleans Saints visit town this coming Sunday, Nov. 13, with a 3-6 record and are underachieving this year. But the Saints do average over 23 points a game and nearly 400 yards per game on offense. While the Steelers defense is giving up almost 400 yards per game (395) and allowing 24.6 points per game, the advantage seems to be in favor of the Saints.
There is no longer a home field advantage in Pittsburgh and I don’t expect turn out to be great for this one.
Yet, I don’t know why but I think the Steelers will have a chance to win. Mainly because Tomlin usually comes out of a bye strong with an 11-4 record. The Saints aren’t good. Andy Dalton is their starter right now at QB and I think his best days are behind him and, perhaps the most impactful player in the game, T.J. Watt, should suit up for Pittsburgh. He is a game-changer, especially against bad teams.
If the Steelers give the ball to Jaylen Warren instead of Najee Harris, allow Kenny Pickett to get the ball downfield and win special
teams, they have a shot at actually winning this ball game. Let me make it clear, the Saints are the better team in this one but
sometimes the best teams don’t win and this time, the Steelers will find a way.
MIKE PELAIA’S POWER PREDICTION — Steelers win, 17-16
(Mike Pelaia is a Steelers columnist for the New Pittsburgh Courier.)