Steelers OC takes blame for offense
By Will Graves
The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada appreciates his players — from longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to second-year guard Kevin Dotson — taking the onus for a sluggish start.
The first-year play-caller also thinks it’s perhaps a bit misguided. Canada knows he was promoted in January to help create a system that would not force the Steelers to rely so heavily on the now 39-year-old Roethlisberger.
So far, it hasn’t happened. The running game is last in the NFL and the line featuring three entirely new players is struggling to keep Roethlisberger upright.
Pittsburgh has three offensive touchdowns through eight quarters while allowing four sacks and 16 quarterback hits heading into a visit by Cincinnati (1-1) on Sunday. That’s not the kind of ratio that leads to a successful season, and Canada knows it.
“I think I need to do better,” he said Thursday.
Roethlisberger repeatedly tried to take the heat for a 26-17 loss to Las Vegas last week, saying he had to play better. Canada appreciated the gesture, but added it’s not representative of what actually happened.
“We’ve got to put our players in position to make plays, we thought we did that,” Canada said. “But we didn’t win, so we didn’t (actually put them in position).”
Canada is dealing with the unenviable task of trying to help make sure the Steelers keep the championship window during Roethlisberger’s Hall of Fame career open as long as possible while making sure an offense featuring four rookies isn’t overwhelmed in the process.
It’s a delicate balance that, at the moment, Pittsburgh can’t seem to locate. First-round pick Najee Harris has just 26 carries for 83 yards through two weeks, mostly because there is little room available.