The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line was far from the weakest link in 2020 but they were far from their best either. A variety of factors play into that but the elephant in the room was the loss of o-line coach Mike Munchak. Speaking with local media on a Monday Zoom call, David DeCastro admitted not having his presence in the room hurt the team.
“I mean, Munch was great,” he said via Steelers.com. “I can’t really sugarcoat it, he was a great coach…maybe there’s a factor of Munch, because he’s one of a kind. I’ll vouch for him on that.”
Munchak left the team following the 2018 season, taking the same position with the Denver Broncos after losing out on the head coaching job. He cited the opportunity to live closer to family as the reason for the lateral move. Assistant Shaun Sarrett was promoted in his place while the team hired Adrian Klemm to be his right hand man. The line played well to begin the year but like most other aspects of the offense, fell apart by season’s end. Aggressive blitz schemes plagued them again and again, often the same concepts drive-to-drive or even week-to-week and the Steelers had no answers.
As DeCastro pointed out, the issues don’t fall on just one coach or one player. Without Ben Roethlisberger and other key offensive stars, the whole unit was handcuffed.
“You know, losing a quarterback like Ben, lose a guy that allows you to have a pass game, that really opens up the run.”
Poor QB play was also responsible for many of the team’s sacks. According to our sack breakdown, Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges were to blame for 7.5 of them. Only one offensive linemen, RT Matt Feiler, was faulted for more than three. DeCastro also pointed out the continuity that remains along the front five. Few teams boast the experience Pittsburgh does and at the lone spot of new starting faces are Chukwuma Okorafor and Zach Banner. Neither are new to the team and have played on Sundays before.
There’s zero debate losing a Hall of Fame player and elite coach like Munchak was a noticeable loss. But like most other elements of the offense, having a healthy team, most importantly a healthy QB, will solve plenty of ills that doomed this team in 2019.