Getting the band back together

Help is on the way and offensive coordinator Matt Canada is more than happy to welcome everybody back and see what his side of the ball looks like with a full complement.

It's been awhile.

"Obviously, it's exciting," Canada said today. "Haven't had 'em since the first half of the first game. Had a good feel coming out of (training) camp so there's a good feeling being able to be at full strength.

"Let's see where we go."

The Steelers lost wide receiver Diontae Johnson in the first half of the regular-season opener on Sept. 10 against San Francisco.

The anticipation is Johnson will be back for Sunday afternoon's game in Los Angeles against the Rams.

So will tight end Pat Freiermuth, left tackle Dan Moore Jr. and right guard James Daniels, all of whom have missed time in recent weeks.

The full-strength capability will potentially allow the offense to become more efficient if not more versatile.

"A little bit of both," Canada said. "I don't know if it's more things but you're bringing back, what was 'Tae' (Johnson), top five or six, seven in targets last year in the NFL? You're bringing back a guy like Diontae and his route-running capabilities and things like that. And obviously we were down Pat last week, as well. You talk about the passing game, just starting there, it's gonna change a little bit. You have some really good weapons coming out there. And you got a couple guys up front getting healthy.

"A little bit of both. There's probably some things we might do but obviously you just want to get better at what we've been doing."

The latter would include starting games faster.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett led a drive for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter of the Steelers 17-10 win over the Ravens on Oct. 8.

But the offense has scored just 14 points combined in five first quarters this season.

"Love to," Canada said. "We'd love to do that.

"We looking at trying to to win games and at those points in time (late in games) Kenny steps up and has made some huge plays throughout his career here. What has he played, 17 games now, whatever it is for him? I think he's made those plays in big moments. Certainly the reason he was drafted, certainly the reason he's the starter and I think we'll continue to do that.

"Obviously, we have to start faster and play better and all those things. How we get to that point, there's work in progress trying to find it with everybody."