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Mike Munchak Hired: What the Steelers can expect from their new offensive line coach

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The Steelers have just hired a new offensive line coach. With Mike Munchak's pedigree, Steeler fans are understandably excited. What can Munchak's addition mean to the Steelers in 2014?

Ed Szczepanski

Steeler fans can expect very good things with the hiring of Mike Munchak.  From a purely coaching perspective, nothing makes you a better position coach than being a coordinator and/or a head coach.  The experience of being a HC or a coordinator forces you to look at coaching a position in a completely different light.  Position coaches are territorial, and for good reason.  If their unit does not produce, they get fired.  As a result, an offensive line coach (or any position coach) becomes locked in with his guys and their responsibilities.

As with any profession, having an understanding of the big picture responsibilities of the organization is paramount.  It is the proverbial, "Everyone needs to be on the same page."  Munchak has had to disseminate a mantra for a team.  He has had to identify what was most important, most valued, and most emphasized throughout an entire organization: from the players, to the coaches, to the secretaries, to the scouts, etc.

Simply, Munchak understands the big picture, and most importantly, how to communicate that picture to a diverse group of people.  Those communication skills, the ability to foster trust, the ability to get many moving parts working in concert, these are the things that make great coaches.  Munchak was not fired, apparently, because he was lacking in these areas.   These will be huge assets to the Steelers.  Much was written about what some supposedly "saw"  from Jack Bicknell on the practice field.  Honestly, the vast majority of the teaching goes on in the meeting room; especially since today's NFL practices are basically walk-throughs.  This reality makes a coach's communication skills even more important since such more time, quality time, is spent in a classroom.  Once again, Munchak's experience as a head coach will prove to be invaluable in this respect.

The Steelers will reap some more benefits from Munchak's head coaching experience.  As we are all painfully aware, the margin between winning and losing in this league is laser thin.  Munchak could very well be able to provide the Steelers with some new ways/methods to improve how they do things.  Maybe Munchak had a travel schedule that was very effective for Thursday Night games.  Maybe he handles scouting reports in a unique way.  Maybe he had an interesting blocking scheme to help neutralize a dominant 3 technique.  Don't expect to see huge changes; instead, it may be small insights that could help lead to a more successful 2014.

This hiring also shines a very positive light on Mike Tomlin.  Munchak makes three former head coaches currently on his staff.  This shows us that Tomlin is a man that is very comfortable with himself and does not feel threatened by the presence of these former head coaches on his staff.  I think that BTSC has probably had plenty of readers that have worked for a boss that was threatened by the acumen of some of his/her subordinates.  That stuff exists in the NFL also. We are all very familiar with the legendary ego clashes between Bill Cowher and Tom Donahoe. Thankfully, it seems as if Tomlin has a very healthy ego when it comes to his staff.

Mike Tomlin is a smart guy.  I'm sure he and Munchak had a long conversation concerning how the Tennessee Titans planned to attack two young Steelers offensive tackles (Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert) in the season opener.  Moreover, the conversation then went to how the Steelers could get more out of the two talented but inconsistent young tackles, and one over-achieving, but limited, left tackle (in Kelvin Beachum).  Tomlin, and Todd Haley, were obviously happy with his answer, and I think Steeler Nation will be also.