News that former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak visited Pittsburgh to interview with the Steelers for the recently-opened position of offensive line coach has many Steelers insiders and fans excited. Munchak, a Pennsylvania native (born in Scranton), former Penn State offensive lineman and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee in 2001 for his decade of play with the Houston Oilers, interviewed for Jack Bicknell, Jr.'s vacant seat. Bicknell, Jr. was severed from the Steelers just a few days after the end of the 2013 NFL regular season.
Meeting with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Todd Haley at the team's South Side facility, Munchak left without accepting a position, and it is unclear as of the posting of this article if he was offered the position or not. The Friday meeting wasn't the first interview Munchak has had since being fired last week by the Tennessee Titans where he spent three seasons as the head coach.
Munchak has also interviewed with the Cleveland Browns as a head coach candidate and the Houston Texans as an offensive line coaching candidate. Although Munchak has never been a coordinator, he was an assistant to Jeff Fisher on staff with the Titans before moving to the head coaching position.
On Thursday, offensive assistant Shaun Sarrett, in his second year at the position, was reportedly interviewed by the Steelers for the open position as well according to many NFL sources, including Gerry Dulac. Reports vary on how big of a responsibility Sarrett had behind Bicknell, Jr., but many are saying that as Bicknell, Jr.'s role diminished as the season wore on, Sarrett began to carry the reins. In the Steelers' final eight games, they allowed only twelve sacks - a huge improvement over the 43 they allowed in the first half of the season. Whether this can be accredited to Sarrett or not can be left open to speculation.
Pittsburgh may also be interested in Carolina Panthers assistant offensive line coach Ray Brown.
What has Steelers fans interested is that the Pittsburgh Steelers have a history of bringing people into the organization who have ties to the Pittsburgh-area. Having yet another member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee on the team's coaching staff is also intriguing.
Munchak has the pedigree to be a great fit for the Pittsburgh Steelers who have seen injuries and the need to shuffle players along an offensive line that was piecemeal at times the past two seasons. Before being head coach in Tennessee, Munchak spent 14 years coaching the offensive line and using his own professional career as an offensive guard to improve Michael Roos, Kevin Mawae, Bruce Matthews and Brad Hopkins' play enough to get those four men to a combined 10 Pro Bowl invitations. Behind Munchak's offensive linemen, the Titans were able to allow Eddie George, Chris Johnson, Chris Brown, Lendale White and Travis Henry put up 1,000-yard rushing seasons an NFL-leading 12 times.
With the emergence of Le'Veon Bell as the Steelers' primary rusher at the end of the season, Munchak would make an immediate impact if hired in getting the Steelers' young offensive linemen in shape to become a force to be taken quite seriously. Bell, the type of back who can break a long run when the holes are open on the line, would benefit and could improve from his outstanding rookie performance in 2013 (beating Franco Harris' 1972 record for rushing yards from scrimmage by a Steelers runner) to a breakout year in 2014.