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.