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Thread: Munchak ready to teach Steelers' O-linemen

  1. #1

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    Munchak ready to teach Steelers' O-linemen

    Munchak ready to teach Steelers' O-linemen

    Apr 10
    By Scott Brown |

    PITTSBURGH -- The six Lombardi Trophies that line the front of the library at Steelers headquarters are impossible to miss even for those used to walking past them on a regular basis.

    They have already made an impression on new offensive line coach Mike Munchak, who has done everything in football but win a Super Bowl.

    “I’m here to see if we can get that seventh Super Bowl trophy in that case and help these players become as good as they can be,” Munchak told on Thursday. “From what I can see on tape, this is a good, young group that wants to be the best and it’s going to be fun working with them. I see myself as a teacher.”

    Munchak should find more than willing pupils -- whether it is in the meeting room or on the practice field -- since no offensive line coach can match his combined chops as a coach and a player.

    Munchak is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is considered one of the best guards in NFL history. The nine-time Pro Bowler spent 14 seasons coaching the offensive line for the Oilers/Titans before becoming the head coach for the only franchise he had ever worked or played for prior to joining the Steelers.

    That the Scranton, Pa., native became available at about the time the Steelers were looking to stop the revolving door at offensive line coach proved ideal for both sides.

    “It is hard to pick up and move,” said Munchak, who was fired in January after three seasons as the Titans' coach, “but if you’re going to do that this is a great place to end up.”

    Elation may be too strong to characterize the general feeling around the Steelers regarding the addition of Munchak. But not by much.

    The offensive line came together nicely at the end of last season and it returns every starter, including Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, who played eight snaps in 2013 before tearing his ACL.

    Pouncey has been working out at the Steelers’ practice facility -- he was here again on Thursday -- and he is among the linemen who could elevate their play under Munchak's tutelage.

    If the line shows significant improvement in 2014 -- and, of course, stays healthy to some degree -- the offense could be good enough to carry a defense that is in transition.

    And carry the Steelers back to the playoffs following 8-8 seasons.

    Munchak, the perfect coach to pull everything together for a line that doesn't have a projected starter over 28, said he wants his players to take an even-keeled approach to the game while also exhibiting toughness and selflessness.

    He figures to be more teacher than taskmaster but he won't have to yell to get his players' attention. His credentials alone will do that -- and help Munchak impart a message that has guided since his days as an All-American at Penn State.

    “You don’t want to be that weak-link guy,” Munchak said. “Be accountable and if you don’t have a good ethic we’re not going to be very good. I’m big on being prepared, being prepared for the moment. It’s a young group, so I’m looking forward to getting to know them and working with them and getting the job done.”


  2. #2
    Pro Bowler

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    damn that was a nice pick up by the Steelers! so glad he's on board. If they can give him the asst. head coaching title to stick around a few more years that would be even better. Not sure how Haley would take that though..
    1. C.J. Mosley LB Alabama
    2. Jordan Matthews WR Vanderbilt
    3. (comp) Philip Gaines CB Rice
    4. Arthur Lynch TE Georgia
    5. Ross Cockrell CB Duke
    5. (comp) Derrick Hopkins DT Virginia Tech
    6. Josh Mauro DE Stanford
    6. (comp) Shaquil Barrett OLB Colorado State
    7. Quincy Enunwa WR Nebraska

  3. #3

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    Mike Munchak not looking for a head coaching job, sees himself in Pittsburgh for a long time

    By Neal Coolong

    To Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak, the decision to join the Steelers' coaching staff after he was fired by the Tennessee Titans was just a matter of comfort, more than anything else.

    Above all else, it was about him coaching the offensive line. That was his focus, he said in a recent interview, and he wasn't beating the head coaching drum as hard as his situation might have suggested.

    "Even when I became a head coach, I wasn’t looking to be a head coach," Munchak told Bob Labriola on the team's web site. "I wasn’t beating the drums and having my agent out there, because I didn’t have an agent. I’m the same way right now. I took this job because I think it’s a great fit. I think this is a great opportunity in a great city with a great organization, and I have a chance to coach some young offensive linemen I think can be really, really good."

    It's a job that's been met with a similar attitude quite often in the past. Munchak becomes the third offensive line coach in three years for that young group of linemen. Getting them on the same page with the plan and with the quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, is essential, and Munchak recognizes that.

    "When you have a great quarterback anything can happen, and the Steelers’ defense is something that’s always been good. I’m for the moment, man. This is where I want to be. I could see myself being here a long time if it works right for everybody and I just kind of take it one year at a time. I’m looking to be here for the long run."


  4. #4

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    Just watched an interview with him.

    Ain't gonna lie. I'm pretty stoked about Munchak. Talk about a stroke of good fortune.
    It's pretty awesome that the O-Line gets to be coached by someone with a resume like his. Opportunity comes-a knockin'.

    Feel real good about his demeanor and his reason for taking the position. Very sincere.

    Welcome to The Pittsburgh Steelers, Mr. Munchak. Lets see what you can do.

  5. #5

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    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Munchak was our biggest offseason far.

  6. #6

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    Does Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Munchak Now Put Pressure On Le’Veon Bell?

    April 16, 2014

    Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jack Bicknell, Jr. were to instill the future of the Steelers running game for years to come with the installment of the outside zone blocking scheme. No one really knows for sure what happened in the early days of the season and why the zone scheme went away so quickly. Was it David DeCastro taking out teammate Maurkice Pouncey at the knees and losing our starting center eight plays into the 2013 season? Were the players struggling that much with what was supposed to be a more simplistic system? Was Bicknell, Jr. just not working out as a good fit for the Steelers? Either way, the system was scrapped for the most part.

    With the hiring of former line coach and Tennessee Titan head coach Mike Munchak, the outside zone is getting another shot in Steel Town.

    "[Outside zone blocking] is not very hard to do; just like anything it’s repetition. It gives the [running] back a three way go. He’s going to read a certain block, and he’s either going to bounce that ball outside, or he’s going to take it back inside. So, he has a way of making us look good real quickly once the running back gets used to the schemes we’re running. There’s a lot of ways you can play around with the back side and change the blocking schemes to give the defense something to think about constantly. It fits in greatly with the play action." - Mike Munchak

    Sounds like Munchak is fairly certain that the zone will become an integral part of the offense this season….. and it’s up to Le’Veon Bell to make it all work.

    Bell certainly didn’t have it easy last season. After not starting a few games because of a foot injury he sustained over the summer, he had to work hard at gaining a presence within the offense and prove to the coaches that he was in fact the featured back. Bell was able to gain over 1,000 yards of total offense last season. That was not an easy feat, considering the offensive line struggled (an understatement) the first half of the season. As the second half of the season wore on, the line improved, and Bell really settled in.

    If Munchak can improve the offensive line run blocking even further it appears that the pressure lies solely with Bell. I know that Munchak is not directly applying pressure on Bell’s capability of running with results. But, the way he speaks about the zone scheme makes it sound like the execution of the scheme is rather easy – and it’s up to the running back to make it all work. Bounce it outside. Make a cut inside. Be decisive. Make good gains.

    Bells solid rookie performance last year only leads to some scrutiny this season if he can’t get things going. The bar has been raised, and the assumption is that the line will pave the way for big gains with Bell due to Munchak’s coaching. If Bell can’t keep the YPC up and have some big runs this season, there’s no doubt that many will question Bell’s ability over the offensive line’s.

    I hope Bell can bring it this season because I like this kid and think he has a ton of potential to be a very good running back. Munchak is primed to set the table, and hopefully Bell can take full advantage of an offensive line and blocking scheme that tips the scales in his direction.


  7. #7

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    Munchak will teach technique, according to Steelers OT Kelvin Beachum

    By Neal Coolong on Apr 30 2014

    Gone is the technique-adverse Jack Bicknell Jr., and in comes the Hall of Fame player and highly successful Mike Munchak. Beachum seems excited, which is yet another reason Munchak is as important an acquisition as any free agent or draft pick.

    Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette is as subtle as a sledgehammer in his piece Tuesday regarding Phase One of the Steelers' offseason program.

    "Teaching technique was not a strong point of Jack Bicknell Jr. in his one year as the offensive line coach," he wrote. "That will change under Mike Munchak."

    We see that as a good thing. Coaches who coach are better than ones who do not. Steelers left tackle Kelvin Beachum is noticing a change already, although not so much in technique (coaches aren't permitted to do much instruction at this point in the offseason but they can interact with the players), but in attitude.

    "To have a Hall of Famer in the room really just speaks volumes because he’s played the game. He knows what you’re going through, he knows what to expect, he knows you’re going to get beat sometimes, which is part of the National Football League."

    If the Steelers' offensive line does get beat, it won't be because they aren't prepared. Munchak is known for his strict adherence to detail, and that meticulous approach will result in the Steelers creating a running scheme that will vary in style and contrast. They'll run inside zone, outside zone and power, all of which lean on different strengths among a youthful and talented offensive line and running backs groups.

    Tribune-Review reporter Alan Robinson wrote, "(Munchak is) just tweaking a thing here or there...But I think we have a couple of things brewing already. ... The guy is no-nonsense," Beachum said. "He wants to get the job done. He wants to win. He is hungry to win."

    The technique aspect of this is critical, which is why it's important to emphasize it (and it's troubling to learn flat-out Bicknell wasn't much of a technique kind of coach). It shows more evidence behind why Munchak is every bit as important an offseason acquisition for the Steelers as any free agent they signed or any player they will select in the upcoming draft.


  8. #8

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    With Mike Munchak at the helm, Steelers excited about line

    By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    What was the Steelers’ most unstable and unreliable unit the past two years might be their most stable and reliable heading into 2014.

    The offensive line has a new coach, and they feel so good about their players they barely paid attention to that unit for a second consecutive draft.

    “I think we can have a special group here,” said Mike Munchak, their new coach who knows his way around offensive lines.

    He and Bruce Matthews each started at guard for the Houston Oilers in the 1980s. Both are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Munchak also coached the Oilers and Tennessee Titans offensive line for 14 seasons before Tennessee hired him as its head coach.

    With the Steelers, he inherited a group with four high draft picks, and one that, at long last, began to stabilize over the second half of last season. Injuries, however, cost them two starting centers, including Maurkice Pouncey on the first series of the regular season with a torn ACL, but their starting five could be set for a change entering 2014.

    “He’s doing well,” Munchak said of his three-time Pro Bowl center. “The biggest, probably hardest part for him is going to be relaxing and realizing we don’t play until September.”

    The other four starters were durable last season. On the right side, tackle Marcus Gilbert and guard David DeCastro started every game. Left guard Ramon Foster started 15. Once he won the job at left tackle to start the fifth game, Kelvin Beachum missed just one start.

    “People don’t know how hard it is to just get plugged in and how much that affects the chemistry of the offensive line,” Munchak said.

    Many discovered that over the past several years with the Steelers when one lineman after another were knocked out via injury.

    Barring more of that, the Steelers line should be stable. The only real competition might come at tackle where there are three players and two starting jobs. Mike Adams opened last season at left tackle, starting the first four games before they switched to Beachum.

    The Steelers were happy with Beachum, their seventh-round draft choice in 2012 who is undersized but makes good use of technique and leverage. It is conceivable Adams could compete with Beachum at left tackle, but more likely the competition will come between him and Gilbert on the right side.

    “He might be more comfortable with one or the other, but I think he feels that he could play either one,” Munchak said of Adams. “He just wants a chance just like all of them. He wants to start and play whether it be right or left.”

    The Steelers added an offensive lineman in the draft — Vanderbilt’s Wesley Johnson with their compensatory pick in the fifth round. He started 51 games for the SEC school, 39 at left tackle, 3 at right tackle, 2 at left guard and 7 at center.

    “He is a guy we feel who can really play center, guard or tackle, depending on where we need him,” Munchak said.

    “With us having so many injuries, here’s a guy that has an opportunity to fill in at those spots if we need him. … You don’t want what happened last year where you have a guy like Beachum that plays left tackle and also has to be your backup center.”

    As Munchak noted, the Steelers usually dress just seven offensive linemen for games, which leaves two backups. Versatility rules. They re-signed two veteran linemen who joined them last season. Guy Whimper can play guard and tackle and Cody Wallace can play guard and center. There was speculation they might re-sign Fernando Velasco, who started the next 11 games at center after Pouncey’s injury before he, too, went on injured reserve with a ruptured achilles.

    If the Steelers keep nine linemen, they could be their current starting five, plus Adams, Wallace, Whimper and Johnson.

    Pouncey (2010) and DeCastro (2012) were first-round draft picks. Gilbert (2011) and Adams (2012) were second-round picks. Foster was undrafted. They did not draft an offensive lineman in 2013 and only Johnson this year.

    They believe Munchak can help many of those young linemen improve their technique, which was not a strong point of Jack Bicknell Jr., who was fired after one season as line coach.

    “I’ve followed them through college and know what type of players they are,” Munchak said. “I’m excited to work with them.”

    Rookie camp update

    The Steelers have a rookie camp roster of 52 players that includes 20 on tryout. One of those tryouts is Stanford defensive back Devon Carrington, whom they first announced had signed as an undrafted rookie.

    The camp, which begins today and runs through Sunday, will have three quarterbacks: Cincinnati rookie Brendon Kay, signed Saturday after the draft, and two on tryouts — Mason Espinosa of Ohio Wesleyan and Terrance Owens of Toledo.

    Of those signed, only rookies and certain first-year pros are eligible for this camp. Last year, linebacker Terence Garvin of West Virginia was invited to try out at the rookie camp, signed a contract afterward, made the 53-man roster and played in 15 games, mostly on special teams.


  9. #9
    Hall of Famer

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    Mike Munchak thinks Steelers offensive line could be 'special'

    Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach, Mike Munchak, recently declared the group of linemen is about to work with for the upcoming season as "special" in an interview with the Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette. Munchak went on to say, "I think we can have a special group here." "I've followed them through college and know what types of players they are. I'm excited to work with them."

    The term "special" can be used in many different facets, but Munchak has his work cut out for him. The Steelers have spent some high draft picks on players that make up the offensive line. Mike Adams (2nd Round), Marcus Gilbert (2nd Round), Maurkice Pouncey (1st Round) and David DeCastro (1st Round).

    Like it or not, the Steelers offense will go with the way of the line, and Munchak's ability to get every last drop of potential out of these players. Whether its zone blocking or a more conventional scheme, the Steelers need to keep Ben Roethlisberger upright and open holes to allow Le'Veon Bell to do his damage in the ground game.

    Could this line be special? They certainly have the potential, but until Munchak can prove that Mike Adams isn't a turnstile while at the tackle position, there will always be skepticism.

    Munchak has the pedigree as a player and a coach to believe that if there is someone capable of making this unit truly special, its him. The group as a whole is now an experienced group of veterans that should be ready to make a name for themselves as one of the better offensive lines, not just in the AFC North, but in the NFL.

    2017 Mock

    1. T.J Watt, OLB/DE, Wisconsin - will be a huge mistake if available and we pass

    2. Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson

    3. Josh Jones, S, N.C. State

    3. Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland

    4. Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic

    5. Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M

    6. Barry Sanders, RB, Oklahoma State (How can you go wrong with that name, however the sample size is so small that his dad may be better even in his 50's)

    7. Alec Torgersen, QB, Pennsylvania

  10. #10

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    Todd Haley says new line coach Mike Munchak is “a stud”

    Posted by Darin Gantt on July 2, 2014

    Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley has been a head coach, and he’s worked with talented players.

    But he sounds a little in awe of one of his fellow assistants.

    Haley had nothing but praise for new offensive line coach Mike Munchak, saying he brings something new to the Steelers’ staff.

    “Really nobody was happier when Coach (Mike) Tomlin, Kevin Colbert and Mr. Rooney were able to pull off getting him to come on board,” Haley said. “He’s a great teacher. He’s great at what he does, the best in the league in my opinion. He seamlessly transitioned into our staff. He’s a stud.”

    On a staff which also includes Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau, having Munchak aboard gives the Steelers some added credibility among players.

    “Not all great players are great coaches. But he’s definitely one of those great players that transitioned into being a great coach,” Haley said. “The head coaching experience is a benefit because he doesn’t just see it from his position group or his perspective. He sees the big picture, which I take pride in doing, having been there. He is a very good teacher that believes in hard work, like we all do. Great players want to be coached. They want to be pushed to see how good they can be, and these guys are eating it up.”

    If Munchak can get the Steelers line to perform to expectations (after spending several high picks on linemen in recent years), it might help him become a head coach again someday.



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