The Pittsburgh Steelers are not known for their offseason moves. Quite frankly, if the Steelers bring in a free agent, it is rarely the kind of move that will severely impact the roster.
However, the Steelers hiring former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak as their offensive line coach is a big deal. Comparing this to a free agent player acquisition, it would be a move that will significantly impact that football club for the better. Coaches like Munchak just don’t grow on trees, and for the Steelers to get him as their O-line coach is tremendous.
It isn’t just that the Steelers were able to acquire a former head coach as an offensive line coach, but Munchak’s personal resume speaks for itself.
After leaving Penn State, Munchak was a first-round draft pick by the Houston Oilers in the 1982 draft where he started at left guard for 12 seasons. During that tenure, he garnered nine Pro Bowl selections, four All-Pro selections, was selected to the 1980s All-Decade team and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. Under Jeff Fisher, Munchak was the offensive line coach for four seasons until taking over for the Titans in 2011.
It was under Munchak that Chris Johnson had some of the best seasons in his career. Johnson and Lendale White had career years while Munchak was coaching the offensive line, and that success was just a part of why the Steelers went after the former head coach.
It is rare for a head coach to lose his job and then return to a role like offensive line coach. Some will be relegated to a coordinator role similar to the Steelers’ offensive coordinator Todd Haley after being fired by the Kansas City Chiefs, but Munchak is bucking the trend here. That is a sign of someone that genuinely loves to coach, no matter what his title may be.
He will have his work cut out for him in Pittsburgh. The Steelers’ young offensive line has shown flashes of potential and also shades of idiocy this past season. He will attempt to take players like Mike Adams, Marcus Gilbert and Kelvin Beachum and mold them not only into average players, but to have them excel at their positions.
The biggest challenge of all might be developing quality depth and having the line play as one solid unit anchored by center Maurkice Pouncey, who is coming off of season-ending knee surgery.
Steelers fans that are preparing the parade for Munchak’s arrival must remember one thing: he is a great coach, but not a miracle worker. The Steelers have potential at the offensive line, but sometimes even the best coaches are unable to get them to perform up to their level of expectation. A simple word to the wise: you should be excited about Munchak’s arrival, but keep your enthusiasm tempered until the games start counting in September.