No one wanted to see Mike Munchak leave. But if felt inevitable, if not for a head coaching job, going somewhere to be closer to family. Denver turned out to be the perfect landing spot. However, as we’ve written before, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in Shaun Sarrett’s capable hands. It may be his first job carrying the title of OL coach but it’s a role he essentially held in 2013, taking over when the hiring of Jack Bicknell Jr. proved to be a flop.
With the Steelers beginning OTAs and minicamp, we’re getting our first glimpse at how Sarrett will operate. Some of the photos released by players and shot by the team show him incorporating what appear to be new drills for his offensive line.
Here’s one, sent out by R.J. Prince, cut after rookie minicamp, that shows him holding something resembling a steering wheel.
“Defeat is a state of mind, no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.” -Bruce Lee (1940-1973) pic.twitter.com/koh0SjDIRi
— RJ Prince (@rdprince64) May 12, 2019
I asked Brandon Thorn, one of the best offensive line evaluators on the Internet, the purpose of that drill. He said it was a concept he’s never seen before but liked the idea.
“Elbows tucked creating torque thumbs up..how you want the hands looking when they’re latched on a guy’s frame”
Hand use and placement is paramount to winning the rep and this drill ensures players can’t get lazy with their hands, even when working on air or in non-contact drills. Technique, technique, technique.
Here’s another one, a snapshot of Maurkice Pouncey and B.J. Finney hip to hip with a football pad in-between. I’m not positive what this drill represents, it’s hard to know in a photo, but I think it simulates getting hip-to-hip on combination and double-team blocks. Here’s another look at it with Derwin Gray and Garrett Brumfield. Gray, by the way, is lined up like he’s a right tackle in that photo, suggesting he’s being cross-trained after playing the majority of the time on the left side at Maryland.
No, Sarrett doesn’t have the Hall of Fame resume does. His name alone doesn’t command attention and respect like Munchak. But in some ways, that works well for Sarrett. He was someone who couldn’t get by on top-level talent playing football. He relied on technique, nuance, and film study to prepare (Munchak did the same I’m sure, just to be clear). That makes him a good teacher and able to convey information clearly and effectively as opposed to some All-Star players, who have trouble explaining the talent that just came naturally to them.