Pittsburgh Steelers: Hiring Munchak makes perfect sense

The Pittsburgh Steelers have named former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak as their new offensive line coach.

The Steelers surprisingly fired Jack Bicknell Jr. from his duties as offensive line coach shortly after the season had ended. There were a lot of questions as to why Bicknell was canned.

The Steelers’ offensive line at the beginning of the season looked just like the offensive line we’ve come to moan and groan about for so many seasons. The first blow came when Maurkice Pouncey, eight plays into the regular season, went down with an ACL tear. The injury ended the season for the Steelers’ best offensive lineman.Pittsburgh Steelers

Of course the injuries wouldn’t stop there. More injuries plagued the line and Bicknell had to switch things up quite a bit. Kelvin Beachum ended up playing multiple positions on the line, Mike Adams regressed and a plethora of different centers (including Pouncey) played this season.

Things got better though. The Steelers got off to a rough start, and by rough I mean Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 36 times through the first nine games. However, those numbers declined and after that the offensive line allowed Big Ben to fall just six time in the next seven games.

The 0-line found a rhythm toward the later half of the season and that’s why the firing of Bicknell came as such a shock. For what he had to work with, the Steelers’ offensive line played very well down the stretch.

But the Steelers’ organization decided to part ways with Bicknell and now they bring in Munchak to pick up where he left off.

Munchak grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania as a Steelers fan. He watched the dominant Steelers of the 70’s. Munchak played offensive line at Penn State, from Penn State went on to the Houston Oilers and from there he went on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. By my standards that’s an impressive resume.

Munchak was considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the league prior to being named head coach of the Titans. Munchak led the Titans last season to a 7-9 record (including  win over the Steelers in week 1). After Munchak refused to fire personnel on the coaching staff following the season, the Titans eventually fired Munchak.

Munchak implemented the zone-blocking scheme for the Titians and that’s what the Steelers tried to use at the start of the 2013 season. The zone-blocking didn’t pan out in the end but now that Munchak is being brought in, the Steelers’ zone-blocking scheme may have a bright future. 

This also benefits running back Le’Veon Bell. Bell’s a patient back and with this kind of scheme he’ll be able to hit holes sooner and find more success.

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This is a tremendous catch for the Steelers. At first there were a lot of question marks about Bicknell’s firing and the questions would’ve continued to swirl had the Steelers brought in someone of less caliber to coach an always reeling offensive line.

Munchak is more than capable of taking an offensive line that finished the year strong and making them even stronger. Only time will tell if Munchak can get the job done, but hiring Minchak is an excellent move by the Steelers.

  • Rick Eger

    Hey I love the guy..

    • Ryan Petrovich

      Rick, I hope things pan out with him but I’m with you, great hire.

  • Bob Graff

    First the Steelers used at least 5 different centers last year. Second the zone blocking may work but the coach has to take into consideration there are a couple of lineman who aren’t very good with there footwork.[Gilbert, Foster and Adams] . Bicknell try to make his system work and not play to the strength of his personnel I believe we quit running his scheme around game 6 and someone else was coaching the 0-line from that point on. [just my opinion]

    • Ryan Petrovich

      Bob, you’re always reading my stuff. Can’t thank you enough. I think Munchak has the tools and experience to help guys like Gilbert, Foster and Adams. He won’t make them perfect but better than last season. I hope they keep the zone-blocking all season, it’s going to benefit them greatly.

      • Bob Graff

        Hey Ryan, You do write some good stuff and i don’t want to seem to critical. In short i think this is a great hire.