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Matt Canada: 'We’ve always believed in running the football anywhere that I’ve been'


(Photo by Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)


New offensive coordinator Matt Canada's biggest job this season is to fix the running game, which was horrendous under Randy Fichtner. It's the main reason why Fichtner isn't the offensive coordinator anymore.


The Steelers ranked 31st in rushing yards per game in 2018 (90.3), 29th (90.4) in 2019 and 32nd in 2020 (84.4). The Steelers' 1,351 rushing yards in 2020 were the fewest in franchise history. Also, the Steelers 84.4 yards rushing per game in 2020 was their fewest average since 1966 when they averaged 78.0 yards rushing per game.


The Steelers' run game started the season off strong with rushing over 100 yards in each of their first five games and had a 100-yard rusher in four of those games. In their last 12 games (including the wild-card game loss to Cleveland), the Steelers rushed over 100 yards just once (Week 11 against Jacksonville) and didn't have a 100-yard rusher in any games during that span.


Steelers president Art Rooney II spoke with members of the Pittsburgh media in late January and he made it clear that the running game needs to get better.


"We have to start with a commitment to the running game, and that's something that I'm not sure we've always had," Rooney said via Dale Lolley of DKPittsburghSports. "So, as we look at changes to the coaching staff, I think that'll be part of the mindset. Again, in terms of the people in this building at this point, I think everybody understands we're going to have to be better than that. Again, I think