Jul 30, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans guard Chance Warmack (70) runs drills during his first day of training camp against center Eloy Atkinson (72) as head coach Mike Munchak observes at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Is New Pittsburgh Steelers OL Coach Munchak A Threat To Todd Haley's Job Security?

The Pittsburgh Steelers now have three former head coaches working under head coach Mike Tomlin – Todd Haley, Dick LeBeau, and now former Titans head coach Mike Munchak.  I can’t shake the feeling that this could be a recipe for disaster.  As I stated on Twitter when word first came out that the Steelers were speaking with Munchak, there’s too many donkeys in one room making decisions.  We all know that Haley and LeBeau are as stubborn as those long and grey eared animals.  Munchak is just as stubborn – refusing to change his coaching staff when ownership insisted otherwise that led to Mikey’s ousting is evidence enough of that.  However, Munchak just might be what the Steelers need, and the hire could work out.  And, if I were Todd Haley, I’d be sweating.

The Steelers offensive line was dismal in 2013 for the majority of the season – a trend that the Steelers want to break as soon as possible.  Especially injuries and inconsistent blocking.  Whether you think he became the scapegoat or not, former OL coach Jack Bickenll Jr. got the boot, and the Steelers wasted no time in going after a replacement.  The Steelers interviewed and quickly signed Munchak on Thursday who became Mike Tomlin’s FOURTH line coach during Tomlin’s seven year tenure.  Munchak spent 12 years as a guard for the Houston Oilers.  He became part of the 2001 HOF class (the same as Lynn Swan) and moved on to coaching the Titans offensive line for 14 seasons before head coaching the Titans for three mediocre seasons.  He’s known for his zone blocking scheme – a scheme the Steelers wanted to do with Bicknell, but quickly jettisoned after the first game of the season.  Munchak was considered one of the best line coaches before his ascension to head coach.

Munchak is a Pittsburgh native, and the Rooney’s continue their long standing tradition of hiring local boys to carry the coaching load.  It might be to a fault, but it’s part of the Rooney way.  It’s curious that Munchak took an assistant coaching position so quickly after being the head honcho in Tennessee, especially when teams like the Detroit Lions were interested in hiring him on their next head coach.  Head coach down to line coach is quite a drop in rank…. and pay.  Could it be that extra incentives were put in place as a carrot for Munchak?  A  coordinator position in waiting perhaps?

It’s no secret that Todd Haley has been one frustrating bugger since he joined the team as the OC two seasons ago.  Two 8-8 seasons and a very mediocre offense that leaves little to the imagination and struggles to crack past the goal line when they get into the Red Zone has many in Steeler Nation pulling their hair and tossing empty Iron City cans at their TV every Sunday.  The offense ‘improved’ during near the last third of the season, mainly due to the offensive line (which somehow constituted into Bicknell’s release), so it appears as if Haley’s lease on the job has been extended for at least one more season.

One has to think, though, that Munchak looms in the background waiting for any major slip up by Haley.  Rooney felt better about the state of the offense as the season closed, but that doesn’t mean the leash hasn’t shortened on Haley – especially now that they have a competent coach like Munchak a few feet away on the sidelines.

So is Mike Munchak the new heir apparent to the OC job (which means the Steelers have no carrot from keeping Kirby Wilson leaving for the Ravens)?  Is he a threat to Haley’s job security?  It may not have been a conscious thought by Tomlin, but one has to think that Haley will need to find a way to make the entirety of this offense click and improve greatly in its output.

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  • Douglas Scandrol

    As usual “gloom and doom” from NPC…..PLEASE switch to a Ravens blogger!

    • Craig

      Don’t really consider this gloom and doom. What if Munchak became the OC after this season or the next? Would that be a bad thing? Is that so gloom and doom to fire Todd Haley?

    • Dom DiTolla

      How is this “gloom & doom?” Just because some of us don’t worship at the altar of everything Rooney, we are considered “gloom and doom?” What’s wrong with questioning personnel decisions?

      Personally, I don’t agree with Craig since Munchak has never been in any discussion to be hired as an offensive coordinator. Haley is his own worst enemy when it comes to using his own personnel, so it’ll be his job to lose this year.

      • Craig

        Discussed or not, Rooney could certainly be hiring Munchak as his Plan B.

        • Dom DiTolla

          Wouldn’t plan B be Wilson or Fichtner over Haley? Assuming Wilson stays of course. He reportedly had a bigger role in offense down the stretch.

  • Richard Lamar White Jr

    Why would Munchak be the OC in waiting? Has he ever even called a play?

    • Craig

      He has not, but neither has Kirby Wilson and many think he would be a good OC despite interviewing for the Ravens position. He has many years of experience working with offenses. He was a head coach for three years so he knows the basic structures of game planning, etc. The Steelers usually hire local/within so I would think it’s fairly safe to presume that MM would be a favored OC if Haley goes.

      • Thumper833

        Why is there so much disdain for Haley? Is he that bad or is it just part of the territory for a Pitt OC?

        • Craig

          Part of the territory quite honestly. But, yes – he is that bad. This team and offense deserves better, plain and simple.

          • Thumper833

            I wonder how bad he would be of his I line was good enough to allow the te to go out and catch balls instead of staying in to block?

          • Craig

            About the same. A lack of good play calling until it’s put into Ben’s hands during no-huddle. Seems to always shoot himself in the foot – finds a bunch of plays that work then never uses them again during same game. Red Zone offense was awful for second year in a row. Poor situational play calling – Jonathan Dwyer at running back on a third and four with 1:57 left to go in first half when there was nothing wrong with Bell… uhh what? He was supposed to be the solution and only has exacerbated the problems.

        • Rikki Giaro

          I don’t believe Haley is that bad, the win now mentality of today makes progress hard to determine. I see an offense that took some lumps over the last season and a half, that is to be expected, a new coordinator getting used to new players, and vice versa. What can’t be disputed is the progression of the offense in the 2nd half of the season, and Haley was a part of that.

      • Richard Lamar White Jr

        Yea I understand what youre saying, but there is a big difference in being a guy that could be capable of running an offense and a guy they are bringing in as the “heir apparent.” I don’t see how you could call him an “heir apparent” when he has no experience doing it. Now is he a possibility to take over if Todd Haley leaves? Sure. An “heir apparent” that they are going to fire Haley so he can take over? I think not.

        • Craig

          Keith Butler has been named the ‘heir apparent’ for a couple years now to LeBeau. Not one ounce of play calling experience at the NFL level. Yet he was on Ken Whisenhunt’s A list for DC until it was ‘scuttled’. I’m saying Munchak COULD be considered the heir apparent simply because of his coaching muscle, the tradition of hiring locals. Whose to say (or not) that Rooney has him lined up for Plan B?

          • Richard Lamar White Jr

            That’s true but Keith Butler has been in the organization for a long time so they pretty much know what theyve got with him even though he has never actually done the job. It’s true Munchak has had success in Tennessee, but let’s see how he does coaching the Steelers oline before we name him the “heir apparent” for OC. Whatever ends up happening, I don’t think at this point anybody in the organization has the idea in their mind to fire Haley and make Munchak the OC.

    • Rick Eger

      I imagine he could handle it.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    Wake up Craig, # 1 Munchak is not a burg native, he is a Scranton guy. #2 how is it Haley’s fault that tomlin has come up short in his previous ol coach hirings, if anything, maybe we need a asst. coach that is threat to our regressive defensive co ordinator.

  • ridelacruz

    I thought he was from Scranton… maybe it was my bad…

  • Kyle

    First, Bicknell getting fired was a terrible, simply terrible, move and just a way for Tomlin to scapegoat someone. Now, we hire a replacement who is not just clearly far superior to Bicknell, but so good that he’s a threat to the organization.
    I’m surprised the storyline isn’t “Rooney family force Tomlin to hire someone who has HC experience (because he needs the help).”

    • Rikki Giaro

      His firing should have taken place after the first game , it was thanks to his coaching that Pouncey was lost for the season.

  • dave

    Munchack ia not a Pittsburgh native, born in Scranton and went tp psu.