Not long after losing veteran offensive line coach Mike Munchak to the Denver Broncos a few weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers quickly named his assistant, Shaun Sarrett, as his replacement and that really wasn’t a huge surprise if you’ve followed the team closely. While the loss of Munchak obviously hurts and he’ll surely be missed by the Steelers offensive linemen, center Maurkice Pouncey made it clear to Missi Matthews of steelers.com on Wednesday after practicing for the Pro Bowl that the team’s decision to promote Sarrett was the right one.
“I couldn’t be more happier,” Pouncey said when asked about how he fells about Sarrett taking over as the Steelers offensive line coach. “A guy who’s learned a lot from Coach Munch, but first of all, he’s played football, he knows the ins and out of it. He played offensive line, he knows the grit of it, the pass protection, the run blocking and things like that. He’s really honed in on technique and playing football on the offensive line, that’s the one thing you’ve got to teach guys is being a technician and playing the game the right way and he has that.
“And I think he’s learned from one of the best, a Hall of Famer, and obviously a Hall of Fame coach, in my opinion, as well. So, he has a lot to lean on and we have a lot to look forward to with him being our offensive line coach.”
Sarrett has been on the Steelers coaching staff since 2012 when he was hired as an offensive assistant so he was helping coach the offensive line before Munchak arrived in 2014. In short, he’s worked with Pouncey for seven of his nine seasons in the league. Pouncey made it known on Wednesday that he even contacted Sarrett as soon as he heard about his promotion and why he did so quickly.
“Because I’m just so happy for him and I’ve been with him a long time now and I know how much he cares and how much he puts in every single week and how much he can get us a lot better,” Pouncey said. “With the new things that’s going on in the NFL and how it’s changing a little bit, I think he’s perfect for the job.”
Pouncey was also asked on Wednesday to reveal one particular thing that he;’s learned from Sarrett since being coached by him all these years.
“Just how to be more of a technician, Pouncey said. “That he really is big on tape study and pushing the envelope on showing different things each week on the guys you go against. He details his work a lot and you can appreciate that when you’re playing. A guy that’s detailed and working his butt off for you. And you see all the work that’s going into the week, but you still got to go out there and perform. But I think he’s the right guy to lead us in the right way.”
Sarrett’s first year as the Steelers offensive line coach shouldn’t include him having to oversee very many, if any, new faces and especially if guard Ramon Foster is re-signed this offseason and tackle Marcus Gilbert isn’t cut. Even if Gilbert is released in the next seven weeks, the team’s backup tackles, Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor and Zach Banner, should be back in 2019 and possibly even former fourth-round selection, Jerald Hawkins, who spent the entire 2018 season on the Reserve/Injured list, as well.