The Pittsburgh Steelers are theoretically in the market for a new head offensive line coach after Adrian Klemm left them high and dry (with permission) in-season in 2021. After serving as an assistant the prior two seasons, the Steelers promoted Klemm to the head role last year after firing Shaun Sarrett, hiring Chris Morgan to be his assistant, who took over the line at the end of the season.
While Morgan could certainly end up with the job, there’s no reason Pittsburgh shouldn’t be open to exploring every possible option out there. And right now, one of those possible options is none other than Mike Munchak, who was its offensive line coach from 2013-2018.
A Hall of Fame player in his own right and an extremely well-respected offensive line coach, Munchak first interviewed with the Denver Broncos in 2019 for a head coaching position, but that job went to Vic Fangio. He still decided to come over as offensive line coach, citing a desire to be close to his daughter and grandchild, who live in the area.
While that draw remains there, the realities of NFL jobs and coaching changes do, too, and Fangio is gone. The Broncos hired former Green Bay Packers head coach Nathaniel Hackett just recently to be their new head coach, and he runs a different scheme.
Assistant coaches are permitted to seek other opportunities regardless of their contract status whenever a head coach is fired. Given Munchak’s desire to be close to his granddaughter, though, a regime change wouldn’t necessarily thwart his desire to remain.
But if given no choice, there’s no reason that he wouldn’t want to come back to Pittsburgh, where he had influence and success and was well-respected. He completely turned around that offensive line within two seasons, sending three players to the Pro Bowl (albeit inheriting one, another being a first-round pick). More than that, he was, in effect, their run game coordinator, and you see how the run game has been since he left.
More to the point, local Denver beat guys have been signaling all along that Munchak is not going to be retained, perhaps most notably Benjamin Allbright, host of KOA’s Broncos radio program. When asked about Munchak last week, he responded “it was unlikely that he would be retained due to the switch to zone”.
As we’ve been saying on BCT it was unlikely that he would be retained due to the switch to outside zone. https://t.co/r5f9I5Avq9
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) January 28, 2022
In a follow-up, he also said that there was “more to it” and that he “just tried to give the nice answer”, so that doesn’t exactly sound like code for ‘this guy is going to be retained through a regime change. And frankly, the hiring of a new head coach from an offensive background coming in from a different scheme, that’s a dead giveaway, even for a coach as respected as Munchak.
So let’s say Munchak is available. How quickly would the Steelers be phoning him up? Frankly, they should have been calling him as soon as Fangio was fired. This offensive line needs rebuilding, and there’s no reason he can’t do it in the same city twice.