The Pittsburgh Steelers have been rather active the last few weeks due to some coaching moves – both initiated by and in response to. On the surface, some of the coaching firings and hirings appear to be for the better, while others are shrouded in a cloud of dust because (as usual) no one from the Front Office is really saying much about them. Change can be a good thing, especially after a team goes 16-16 in two seasons of work. But, it’s also about how those changes are made that are almost equally as important.
Jack Bicknell, Jr./Mike Munchak
The Steelers started the festivities by canning offensive line coach Jack Bicknell, Jr. Bicknell lasted just one season. He was brought specifically into the organization to instill the zone run blocking scheme for the 2013 season. Fans seemed excited to see how this would work out because the running game has struggled for a few years, and was dismal during Todd Haley’s first season as new OC. The opening of the season was disastrous as OG David DeCastro fell (dove?) into the knees of center Maurkice Pouncey, effectively ending Pouncey’s season…. in the first series of offense for the season. The scheme was scrapped. The line suffered more injuries, and the team went 2-6 to start the first half of the season. All the while, Big Ben was running for his life. The line got their stuff together for the second half of the season, but no one outside of the organization knows why. Was it Bicknell’s doing? Someone else figured things out? All we know is that Bicknell was the first to go and became the poster child of a scapegoat for everything else that was wrong with the Steelers in 2013.
The Steelers went after former Tennessee Titans head coach, Mike Munchak, as their new OL coach. Munchak was part of the pool of candidates for other head coaching jobs (Detroit for one), so it was surprising to see that he was even talking with the Steelers about a coaching position that was well below the status and pay grade of a head coaching role. Munchak is a Hall of Fame offensive lineman and coached the offensive line of the Oilers/Titans for many years. So he certainly has the credentials of being a great positional coach. But, Munchak makes the third piece within the Trinity of former head coaches that are now of the ‘assistant’ coach variety within the Steelers organization. Too many cooks in the kitchen – or as I like to put it, too many donkeys on the trail? I’m not sold on Munchak yet, but if he can get the young Mike Adams to actually become a good blocker instead of a bust, then he is a genius. And, equally of the genius type would be Tomlin for bringing him in.