It speaks volumes when many consider the best acquisition of the organization in the last decade was bringing in a position coach. After all, can a position coach make much of a difference? We aren't talking about a head coach or even a coordinator, but just a position coach. When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers bringing in Mike Munchak to be the team's offensive line coach after the 2013 season, the answer to the above question is a resounding 'Yes'.
"He's awesome," guard David DeCastro told Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
"He's done such a great job for us," center Cody Wallace said.
"As O-linemen, we talk about Munchak all the time," tackle Alejandro Villanueva said, "in terms of how fortunate we are to have a coach like him."
For Munchak, his second season with the Steelers has been a challenge since losing the starting center in the preseason and left tackle before the midway point of the season. Munchak has a resume which would impress anyone. Played in the NFL for over a decade, is a Hall of Fame guard and has coaching experience from position coach to head coach, but he has never seen anything quite like the Steelers have in terms of players lost in 2015.
"I've had injuries, but never like this to who you usually say is your ‘two best guys,' " Munchak said.
"I don't think people really appreciate it yet — I think it will be looked back upon with people like, ‘Man, those guys have done a solid job, considering what jobs other teams have done with backups,' " guard Ramon Foster said.
The Steelers' offensive line has done a stand up job, all things considered. It isn't easy to replace an All Pro center and an up-and-coming left tackle without missing a beat, but Munchak has been able to patch this unit together to the point where they are coming off back-to-back 30 point games heading into the bye week.
So what does Munchak do which is so special? What is his secret? The players who play for him were more than happy to oblige in talking up their position coach.
"He's not a yeller. He's not going to cuss you out," DeCastro said. "He makes the game fun."
"The one thing I admire most is how much work he puts in every single day," Villanueva said. "It doesn't matter how early in the morning or how late you leave, he's always (working)."
"I don't think if I had tried to play O-line on another team I would have been able to do what I'm doing right now," Villanueva said. "With another coach, I truly don't think I could have played at this level.
"So I owe (Munchak) a lot, and I think a lot of the guys in the room owe him a lot as well."
"Coach Munch is one of those guys you don't want to disappoint and you don't want to let down," DeCastro said.
Whatever Munchak is doing isn't just working, it is making a difference for the Steelers in 2015. With Munchak the leader of this offensive line, the group seems to not only be improving, but poised to make a run to the postseason with 6 games remaining on the regular season schedule.