Steelers officially hire Munchak to coach offensive line
So the Steelers can land a high-profile free agent after all — former Titans head coach Mike Munchak is their new offensive line coach.
Munchak told the Steelers on Wednesday he was coming, and the two sides finalized a contract Wednesday night. The Steelers announced the hiring of the Pro Football Hall of Famer on Thursday.
“I am excited Mike will be joining our staff at the Pittsburgh Steelers,” coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement. “Mike's offensive line background speaks for itself, both as a Hall of Fame player for the Houston Oilers and as a very successful line coach with the Tennessee Titans. I look forward to having him join our coaching staff as we have already started preparing for the 2014 season.”
Munchak turned down an offer to become the line coach on new coach Bill O'Brien staff with the Houston Texans to return to Pennsylvania. The former Penn State All-America lineman is a native of Scranton, where the street in front of Scranton High is named for him.
Munchak was reportedly offered a contract extension by the Titans after the season ended, only to be fired Jan. 4 after refusing to fire his two coordinators. He was a highly regarded line coach with the Titans/Oilers from 1997-2010, with his linemen combining to be picked for 10 Pro Bowls.
Munchak is the third Steelers offensive line coach in three seasons, succeeding Sean Kugler, who left last year to coach UTEP, and Jack Bicknell Jr., who lasted only one year on the job before being fired — in part because of some of the young linemen's struggles last season.
The Steelers now have four coaches with head coaching experience — Tomlin, coordinators Dick LeBeau — also a Hall of Famer — and Todd Haley and Munchak, who had a 22-26 record in three seasons with Tennessee. The Titans beat the Steelers each of the last two seasons.
Munchak interviewed for the Browns and Lions head coaching jobs but was not hired.
Munchak takes over an offensive line that has two proven guards in the steady Ramon Foster and the fast-developing David DeCastro, a three-time Pro Bowl center in Maurkice Pouncey, but questions at tackle.
Kelvin Beachum took over at left tackle one-quarter of the way through the season after Mike Adams lost the job, but he is undersized for a full-time NFL left tackle. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert was the lowest-rated starter along the offensive line, yet the Steelers still do not consider replacing him with Adams, a former second-round pick who settled into a backup role after being benched.
Pouncey also is recovering from a serious knee injury that occurred only eight plays into the season and might need a full year to heal.
Munchak was a nine-time Pro Bowl pick who played for the Oilers from 1982-93 and later was chosen for the NFL's all-decade team of the 1980s. He had been a part of the Oilers/Titans organization as a player, offensive assistant, assistant coach or head coach for 31 years, and his jersey No. 63 was retired in 1996.
While many former head coaches return to coordinators' jobs, Munchak never has been an offensive coordinator, and he told the Steelers he was comfortable returning to being a position coach.
Munchak, who turns 54 in March, taught the Titans' line the zone blocking scheme the Steelers attempted to install last season, only to abandon after Pouncey was hurt. Fernando Velasco, who replaced Pouncey as the Steelers' center last season, was one of his starters in Tennessee.
Munchak was succeeded as the Titans coach by former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, a former Steelers offensive coordinator.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Injury to RT Gilbert opens door for Adams to start
- Stakes high as ex-Saints receiver Moore faces his former team
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger says Saints game is ‘must win’
- Steelers’ backups Archer, Harris ready to run
- Steelers cornerback Taylor ready to swap earpiece for helmet
- Steelers notebook: Defense tasked with stopping Graham
- For Steelers, a fight to finish for playoff berth
- Steelers notebook: Linebackers on the spot against Saints offense
- Steelers’ lookahead: New Orleans Saints
- NFL parity makes playoff chase a multi-team muddle
- Play of nose tackles could have impact on Steelers’ stretch run