Mike Munchak Makes His Hiring Sound Even Better

There seems to be a general consensus among many that the biggest move the Pittsburgh Steelers made this offseason was replacing offensive line coach Jack Bicknell, Jr. with the highly respected Mike Munchak, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman in his own right as well as an accomplished offensive line coach.

Even with the re-signing of Jason Worilds and the addition of starting free safety Mike Mitchell through free agency, Munchak has the ability to have a greater impact on the season than both of them combined, as he now has the entire offensive line under his tutelage.

The only thing, it seemed, that could make the signing better would be if it wasn’t just a rental between head coaching opportunities for him, having just served in that role for the Tennessee Titans for the previous three seasons.

And by the sounds of it from his conversations with the Steelers website published yesterday, he doesn’t sound like a man who sees himself in career purgatory.

Even when I became a head coach, I wasn’t looking to be a head coach. I wasn’t beating the drums and having my agent out there, because I didn’t have an agent. I’m the same way right now. I took this job because I think it’s a great fit. I think this is a great opportunity in a great city with a great organization, and I have a chance to coach some young offensive linemen I think can be really, really good. When you have a great quarterback anything can happen, and the Steelers’ defense is something that’s always been good. I’m for the moment, man. This is where I want to be. I could see myself being here a long time if it works right for everybody and I just kind of take it one year at a time. I’m looking to be here for the long run.

One can’t help but feel very encouraged by Munchak’s words, and excited about the prospect of him coaching the offensive line for a while down the road. And if you think back to the situation in Tennessee, it does add up.

The Titans had just fired Jeff Fisher, at the time the longest-tenured head coach in the league, going back to the days of the Houston Oilers. Munchak, too, went back to the days of the Oilers as a player, and then as a coach.

He spent his entire coaching career as a position coach, and wasn’t begging for any more. He was just the logical candidate to turn to, given the situation. And once you fire a head coach, it’s kind of difficult to re-hire him back to his old job.

Also worth pointing out, as Bob Labriola does, is that Munchak had no need to take a coaching position this season, as he remains on the Titans’ payroll to the tune of something like $3 million this year due to his firing.

There’s already a mutual comfort level within the head coaching fraternity that is the Steelers’ offensive coaching meeting room, joined also by offensive coordinator Todd Haley and, of course, Mike Tomlin.

Munchak said that he made sure to speak to them on the phone before basically wasting his time traveling to Pittsburgh to assure that it would be a good fit. Everything since that point has seemingly been a honeymoon. Let’s hope that honeymoon leads to a lasting marriage.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • steelster

    Lets hope he can turn gilbert and adams into better players so the steelers don’t have to spend another high pick on a tackle.

  • steeltown

    Great acquisition. Hopefully he can help Adams turn the corner and improve the overall play of DeCastro and Beachum, that with a return of Pouncey and a healthy Gilbert could make for a much improved OLine

  • Callentown

    If the team drafts an OL in the first or second round, I believe that begins the statement that Munchak either does not believe in Beachum, or the two ‘might-be-bust’ RT’s we have; depending on who is drafted.

    If it’s Lewan, he’s taking a LT for the next 10 years. I wonder who would play RT then.

  • steeltown

    I still think Adams could end up making Gilbert expendable after this season. He played pretty well on the right side in his rookie year.

  • Callentown

    As long as he doesn’t have to pass protect! I think the team may have gotten snookered by Adams.

  • cencalsteeler

    With his hiring, many thought this was a quick stop for Mike. I disagree. This guy likes stability and seems to grow roots where he’s planted. If the Rooney’s treat him right, he should be a main stay for quite a while.

  • dgh57

    Yes I agree probably the most significant acquisition this off season! The whole OL should benefit from his coaching but especially Pouncey and DeCastro as they’ll be playing more to their strengths if we adopt the ZBS. In turn the rest of the offense should feed off the OL success. Factor in there Bell and Blount and maybe one of the top WRs in the draft has me excited about the upcoming season!

  • frednash

    sounds like he will stay

    that 3 million back pay

    sure is sweet

  • cencalsteeler

    Munchak > Bicknell, jr. He has to improve our line quality! Bicknell apparently got benched half way through last season. I fully expect a huge improvement with Mike and we should expect to see this young line flourish.
    I admit, I was frustrated with Adams play last year. But, if he was not coached properly, we can’t point the blame solely on him. If Munchak can instill some teaching in Adams, we should see a totally different player this season.

  • cencalsteeler

    Remember, Adams coach was benched and then fired. Let’s see what Munchak can do with him before we throw him to the wolves.

  • steeltown

    Not to mention Adams has a full offseason to build strength and work on technique, as opposed to last year when he was recovering from that incident. I’ve read that he and DeCastro have been working out together this offseason.

  • cencalsteeler

    Great news!

  • dennisdoubleday

    How much are the Steelers paying him, and does that reduce what the Titans have to pay by the same amount?

  • Callentown

    IMO, Munchak is the only reason for the slimmest margin of hope for Adams. He’s shown he cannot pass protect at all.

    Keep in mind, there are plenty of first and second year Olineman who helped their team significantly by this point.

  • joed32

    I do’t think so, coaches contracts aren’t covered by the same rules as players.

  • joed32

    A lot of the pundits don’t think Lewan will play on the left side in the pros.

  • Jeff

    Agree completely…. If the OL plays above average, this offense has the potential to be in the top 10, maybe even top 5 (optimistic) in the league

  • Big White

    Can we get this guy a ten year contract extension please??? For the love of god.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    The day it was announced that they signed Munchack I said that it would absolutely be the most important acquisition of the year and possible for many years to come. I don;t care who we get or keep, this guy WILL, one way or another get the Steelers O line going.

    2 other points: He spent his entire career as a player and coach with 1 organization, so he is obviously not the type of guy that wants to jump all over the place on a whim, and he has absolutely been a better line coach than he was a head coach. He was born in Pennsylvania and has many friends there. Excellent! He had opportunities to go elsewhere but he was not about to take just any job, it had to be a great opportunity.

    IMO he will help not just Adams, but everyone improve. I hope Adams is working on his core strength because that was probably messed up bad after being stabbed last year.

    Back to Munchack: He did watch film of the Steelers while spending 6 hours with Tomlin and Haley. He confirmed something for me that is essential in this interview when he mentioned the following :

    “and I have a chance to coach some young offensive linemen I think can be really, really good.”

    There you go: Something many of us have suspected all along — the fact that these currents Steelers can be really, really good. Yes, there is potential in this O-line and he will bring the best out of them.

    Yeah, Baby!!!!

  • Virdin Barzey

    Best acquisition we’ve made this year was Munch.

    If Munch can get Adams to pass block and Gilbert to consistently block with an attitude and stop getting pushed around, we should make a statue of him next to the immaculate reception. LOL.

  • Love this pickup at least as much as I hated the Bicknell signing. I can’t wait to see what he can do with our young line.

  • I am hoping he is of like mind to Lebeau: tried the head coaching thing and realized it’s not for him, that position coaching/coordinating is where he wants to be.

  • I am not high on Adams as a pass blocker either, but if anyone can fix it, Munchak can. I am taking the wait and see attitude as well. I think he can be at least a serviceable RT. He is definitely no LT though.

  • Callentown

    Is that right? Jeez, well then it seems like he would not be the Steelers pick then, don’t you think?

  • charles

    Munchak was a beautiful acquisition, similar to Tom Cable going from the Raiders to Seattle. Sneaky suspicion is Porter was a similar good acquistion. Maybe it was his first move to get Moats. Maybe Mr. Tomlin and Mr. Colbert are getting a grip on the return of the Steelers traditions of explosive LB corp and nasty Oline.

  • wdhammer

    Prediction – Steeler OL is going to be bad azzzz this yr ..WATCH !!!!

  • Louis Goetz

    As per Ed Bouchette, the Titans get to reduce the $3,000,00.00 they owe him under his head coaching contract by whatever the Steelers are paying him. That’s why I was so surprised he took the job. He’s essentially working for free this year. He’s getting $3M whether he coaches the Steelers or stays home.

  • tim

    What if Jake Matthews is still available? Ive seen a mock that thinks he’ll be around….rather have him than TL…

  • tim

    Foster played well….he wasnt a 2rd pick with a ” high ceiling”……we shall see about Adams

  • Callentown

    See David DeCastro situation from 2 yrs ago ..! Sure thing, can’t miss pick.

  • Brendon Glad

    I’ve long considered the woeful play of the OL a product of both poor coaching and poor players….but at a 70/30 blame factor in that order. And it was crystalized in the performance of the OL last season when the young offensive assistant took over major duties midseason for Bicknell. I think munchak will make this OL above-par. That’s all I’m asking of him. Several experts say that the 2008 and 2010 teams were the worst SB OL’s ever to make it that deep in the playoffs. And they won one of them and barely lost the other. So above par will be just fine. And I think he will do that.