The Pittsburgh Steelers had a very busy off-season. The defense has been retooled, the offense has beefed up the running game, while speed and youth has been added to both units . However, the two biggest moves that the Pittsburgh Steelers made for the 2014 season and beyond may be in a different area… The coaching staff.
The Steelers added offensive line coach Mike Munchak and defensive assistant Joey Porter. Two hires that may have a huge impact on the Steelers getting back to their winning ways.
The past couple of seasons the Steelers have finished 8-8 and without a play-off appearance. Two major factors for these results have been an unstable offensive line on offense and a lack of a defensive pass rush on defense.
On the offensive side of the ball the hiring of Mike Munchak is a huge upgrade
Mike Munchak 53, the former head coach of the Tennessee Titans was a 9 time Pro Bowl guard with the Houston Oilers and is a NFL Hall of Fame offensive lineman. He began coaching for the Oilers in 1994 a year after his retirement as a player.Munchak. spent over 30 years as a player/coach for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans organization and now heads into his 33rd year in the NFL.
To say that Munchak comes to the Steelers with a high pedigree may be an understatement. Munchak has long been one of the most respected offensive line coaches in the NFL and so far Steelers players have sung his praises.
Center Maurkice Pouncey: “To get a new coach, a Hall-of-Fame player like Mike Munchak, is awesome,he brings a completely different set of credentials to this. He played the game and played it at a high level. We really needed him, which is great for the group.”
Guard David DeCastro: “I am hugely excited. Any time you get a guy like that, his resume speaks for itself. I can’t wait to be able to pick his brain. I am sure he will have a ton of good stuff for us to make us better players and a better unit.”
Guard Ramon Foster: “He understands each player is different. He understands how to cater to everyone,the respect factor is very high. … It’s a joy right now to be taking advice and coaching from him.”
“He’s really big on technique,” Foster said. “He keeps saying, ‘Technique is what’s going to get you there.’ Sometimes as pros, coaches may not do the small things, like working on feet separation or the hands, but he’s big on that.”
Tackle Kelvin Beachum: “He knows what you’re going through,he knows that you’re going to get beat sometimes, which is part of the National Football League. He also knows how to excel.”
Now lets move to the defensive side of the ball …
The Steelers defense the past couple of seasons has declined and a big part of that is the defenses’ lack of a pass rush. The Steelers’ defense ranked 25th in the NFL with only 34 total sacks last season. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s defensive system depends heavily on the ability to pressure the opposing quarterback, so this explains a lot when it comes to the Steelers loss of defensive swagger.
So who do the Steelers bring in to help teach the fine art of rushing the passer and defensive swagger? The king of defensive swagger defensive assistant Joey Porter.
Joey Porter had 98 career sacks, 721 tackles (552 solo), 25 forced fumbles, 12 interceptions, nine fumble recoveries, three touchdowns and one safety.Porter was named to four Pro Bowls (2002, ’04, ’05, ’08), All-Pro four times and was a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000’s. He recorded 60 sacks as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Porter was a great leader as a player and personified “The Steeler Way” on defense with his fierce intensity and pass rushing abilities.
He has already been a very active part of defensive drills and a positive influence on many of the Steelers young defensive players. One player being second year outside linebacker Jarvis Jones…
Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones: “Joey’s sure bringing it,” Jones said. “Everything we do, we do it as a linebacker group collectively. Even in the weight room, some of the bigger guys like Steve (McClendon); Steve lifts the whole weight room. And he’ll go lift some weights and Joey will be like, ‘I can do that, too.’ And we’re like, ‘Joey, you aren’t playing any more. You’re coaching us.’ But that’s the kind of guy he is. If he sees one of us do it he wants to do it, too.
“Even out here doing the bags and all that stuff, he’ll go through the bags and hit them with us. It’s more hands-on than just talking to us and showing us how to do it, which is great for us.”
“He’s a great coach,” Jones gushed. “He understands the game, he played it. He played this position, the same position, wore the same uniform that we’re wearing. So he understands what it is to be a player.”
Inside linebacker Vince Williams also is happy with the addition of Coach Joey Porter…
Inside linebacker Vince Williams:“I’m thinking about renting out one of the rooms in his house and just kind of living in there,” Williams said. “I want to be ‘Baby Joey Porter’ in a sense. Not so much as how he played, (because) he played outside, obviously, but just try to pick up the demeanor.
“He was a great player so I just want to learn as much as I can.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a young team at the core of their defense and offensive line. They need great examples to help mold this youth to their full potential and teach them winning ways.
Hiring Mike Munchak and Joey Porter are two great moves in the right direction.