It didn’t take long for the Pittsburgh Steelers to identify the man they wanted.
Less than a week after interviewing for the Steelers’ vacant offensive line coaching job, former Titans head coach Mike Munchak accepted Mike Tomlin’s offer to become his fourth O-line mentor, just a couple weeks after he was fired by Tennessee.
Tomlin interviewed Munchak last week to replace Jack Bicknell Jr., who was fired after one season.
The hiring is a great one for the Steelers, as they couldn’t have hired a better offensive line coach than the Scranton, Pa., native.
Not all great players turn out to become great coaches, but Munchak is the exception to that rule – and the Hall of Famer has the resume to back it up.
Before becoming the Titans head coach, he coached the Titans offensive line for 14 seasons after a 12-year career as a guard for the Houston Oilers that landed him in the Hall.
Oddly enough, this will be the first time in his lengthy playing and coaching career that Munchak will draw a paycheck from someone other than the Oilers/Titans organization.
Munchak had a reputation as one of the best line coaches in the NFL before he got Tennessee’s head coaching position. During his tenure as line coach, his linemen made 10 Pro Bowls and their running backs were among the best in the league, including Eddie George, Chris Brown and Chris Johnson.
He also taught the zone-blocking scheme the Steelers want to use but abandoned after their loss to Tennessee when Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey went down for the season.
In Pittsburgh, Munchak will not only have Pouncey coming back from ACL surgery, but will get to help guard David DeCastro take the next step. The 2012 first-round pick started to become one of the better guards in the NFL last season, his first full season as a starter. It will be interesting to see how dominant DeCastro can become under Munchak’s watch.
The Steelers invested high draft picks in both Adams and Gilbert and neither have been great, although Gilbert has been serviceable. Beachum was a seventh-round pick who was starting to blossom at left tackle last year.
If Munchak can get his tackles to improve, this Steelers offense line could turn out to be a nice surprise.
For Munchak, it has to feel like a step down, going from an NFL head coach to having settle for being a line coach again after interviewing but not getting head coaching opportunities with Penn State, the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions.
However, it’s a great fit for both he and the Steelers, and he landed in a great spot. A good year from the Steelers in 2014 and you could see Munchak’s name linked to head coaching jobs once again in the very near future.
With Munchak, Dick LeBeau and Todd Haley, Tomlin has a loaded staff with three former NFL head coaches.