The Pittsburgh Steelers fired Matt Canada about eight weeks too late, but Mike Tomlin eventually made the right call. When Canada was let go, quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan took over as lead play-caller. Unsurprisingly to those in the know, Pittsburgh's offense improved greatly in the games that followed.
Sullivan was given the opportunity to interview for offensive coordinator jobs elsewhere this offseason, including with the Las Vegas Raiders. However, those interviews didn't go according to plan, and Sullivan remains on the open market.
A reunion in Pittsburgh remains a possibility, though it won't come as the team's offensive coordinator. The Steelers hired Arthur Smith for that role, and even brought in a new quarterbacks coach and analysts from outside the organization -- a rarity for a Tomlin-coached team. Sullivan is expected to remain in Pittsburgh in a new role. In this case, change is needed if Kenny Pickett (or perhaps a new young QB in the years to come) is going to take that next step forward.
Steelers sticking with former assistant under Matt Canada
Sullivan was hired in 2021 as QB coach under Canada. However, the duo often worked together on the playbook and when Canada was fired, Sullivan took over with much of the same repertoire.
Tomlin isn't one to fire assistants, especially not in the middle of the season. He was put in a delicate spot with Canada. This is much of what makes working for Tomlin one of the best jobs in football. It offers job security that assistants may not receive elsewhere.
"I did not come to this decision lightly," Tomlin said when he fired Canada. "It's my role to absorb and protect those that I work with. This doesn't feel like that. I'm not assigning blame or deflecting in any way. ... Just rest assured that this decision was not taken lightly. I've got a lot of respect for Matt personally and professionally."
Tomlin will give Arthur Smith that same benefit as the Steelers learn a new system this offseason. Sullivan could be part of that change.