Steelers rumors: Will Diontae Johnson be traded? Why Sullivan is calling plays explained, another coach on way out?

  • Could another coach follow suit with Matt Canada's exit?
  • Why Mike Sullivan has taken play calling duties
  • Diontae Johnson offseason trade: How likely is it?

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Why Mike Sullivan is calling plays despite not being interim offensive coordinator

Firing an offensive coordinator mid-season is entirely unideal, to be sure. So when the Steelers made the arguably necessary decision to part ways with Matt Canada recently, their backfilling of the role is entirely shoestring.

Even so, there was some skepticism around how head coach Mike Tomlin decided to fill Canada's responsibilities, with him naming running backs coach Eddie Faulkner the interim offensive coordinator, but giving quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan play-calling duties on game days.

That, essentially, amounts to the two men splitting duties, with Faulkner taking the big picture and Sullivan charged with putting it into play on Sundays. Why not give play-calling duties to Sullivan outright? Tomlin had this to say, H/T Steelers Depot, on his show recently as far as why they went this direction:

"He has experience in [play calling] in two NFL cities, New York and Tampa. And he's the guy that deals directly with Kenny, and so there's great fluidity there from a play-calling perspective in an effort to best put Kenny in position, particularly as it pertains to the passing game."

It makes sense.

Interestingly, Canada also said in the show that Sullivan is who Pickett has been communicating with, "a lot." That's a key detail considering at one point, Matt Canada was curiously promoted to spend more time working with Pickett, in an apparent last-ditch effort to try to get the Canada-Pickett experiment to work out.

Evidently, they liked what they saw from Pickett when he was working with Sullivan more directly.

It also provides one more crucial subtlety: The Steelers are still all-in on Pickett, and spending the rest of this year ostensibly hoping to get Pickett every opportunity he possibly could have to prove he should be the franchise's quarterback of the future. Going with a passing specialist to call plays instead of Faulkner, the rushing specialist, means they're betting on Pickett.