The plan for Steelers coordinators heading into 2022 should be pretty simple. The team should let Keith Butler “retire”, while retaining Matt Canada for at least one more season. All signs point to just that scenario playing out this off-season. Here is the case for why both these are the right decisions for the Steelers moving forward:
“Retiring” Keith Butler:
Anyone who has read our site in the past knows we have been calling for this day for years now. Time for Keith Butler to go and the 3-4 defense with him
Keith Butler was a great linebacker coach, but he is completely unqualified to run an NFL defense. The Steelers defensive game plans have been nothing short of abysmal over the years. Every season brings a new problem the defense can not overcome. This year the team once again could not stop the run. They finished dead last in run defense, despite having an All-Pro caliber player at every level of the defense. Making things worse is that Butler’s defenses in the playoffs have been absolutely horrendous. This team now has averaged over 40 points given up in their last four playoff appearances.
One thing we do not agree with is that Butler’s replacement will most likely come from inside the organization. The favorite at this time seems to be Teryl Austin who currently holds the title of Senior defensive assistant. What we have come to realize over the years is that Keith Butler is merely a figure head on this team. The real person in charge of the defense is Mike Tomlin. Promoting Austin only means more of the same failures we have become accustomed to seeing with this defense. Until this team hires a defensive coordinator from outside the organization, we will get more of the same in 2022 and beyond.
Keeping Matt Canada:
There’s no denying how bad the Steelers offense was in 2021. The team only managed to score more than 20 points six times the entire season, and only once in their final seven games. So why bring back the coordinator responsible for this mess? The answer is because of the hand Matt Canada was dealt.
The 2021 Steelers offense may have been the least talented collection of players in decades. For starters, the offensive line was the worst unit in the entire NFL. At quarterback, Matt Canada was saddled with perhaps the worst possible choice for the system he wants to run. Ben Roethlisberger is known to despise play action, and his complete lack of mobility hampered this offense the entire season. Inconsistent wide receiver play completed the eventual disaster that was the Steelers offense in 2021. No coordinator could possibly overcome the issues this offense faced in terms of personnel.
We are not here to completely absolve Matt Canada from blame. His play calling was suspect at best this season. Despite the obvious lack of talent, he never did get this offense going in a positive direction in any phase. There is very little to hang your hat on in terms of improvement anywhere on this unit.
The hope is Pittsburgh will add a mobile quarterback, and put substantial resources into the offensive line in 2022. Add that to the continued emergence of Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth, and a dramatic improvement could be in order. It’s only fair to see what Canada is capable of with an improved unit going forward. Holding him solely responsible for the calamity that was the Steelers offense would be unfair to say the least. Of the two Steelers coordinators, Canada is the one who should return for another season.