Following the firing of Matt Canada late in the 2023 season, we knew that it was only a matter of time before the Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves a new offensive coordinator. The hiring process is the first order of business for NFL teams before the rush of the offseason takes place.
The Steelers had a few weeks to weigh their options following their loss against the Bills in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. On the first day of 2024 Senior Bowl practices, the news broke that Pittsburgh was going with Arthur Smith as their next offensive coordinator.
Smith was brilliant during his time as an offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans in 2019 and 2020, but his three years as the head coach and offensive play-caller of the Atlanta Falcons didn't go nearly as well. Smith finished with a record of 7-10 in all three seasons while his offense managed 19.6 points per game during this span.
While fans will have to live with some of Smith's shortcomings when it comes to deficiency of volume in the passing game, some positive changes could be coming, and we would love to see a familiar face back to coach the offensive line.
Arthur Smith should push hard for Steelers to bring back Mike Munchak
Of all of the coaches that have been with the Pittsburgh Steelers over the past decade, Mike Munchak ranks near the top of the list in terms of what he provides to a football team.
With nearly three decades of experience as an offensive line coach (and a brilliant resume as a former NFL offensive lineman), Munchak has a coveted niche. Wherever he goes, he always gets the most out of his offensive line. When he was with the Steelers as the OL coach from 2014 to 2018, Pittsburgh saw the best offensive line play they have seen in ages.
Munchak was largely responsible for turning a project like OT Alejandro Villanueva into a Pro Bowler while getting All-Pro seasons out of players like David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey. Even a former undrafted player like Ramon Foster had an excellent career under Munchak.
So where does Arthur Smith come in? The new Steelers offensive coordinator has worked under Munchak as an assistant coach for three years (2011-2013) while Munchak was the head coach of the Titans.
There are obviously several connections here. Smith and Munchak worked with each other, while Tomlin and Munchak did the same in Pittsburgh. Munchak spent three seasons in Denver from 2019 to 2021, but he hasn't coached the past two seasons.
A move to bring Munchak on board as the offensive line coach in Pittsburgh would require two things: Munckah would have to be willing to come out of retirement to coach again, and the Steelers would need to be willing to move on from current OL coach, Pat Meyer.
From the sounds of things, Pittsburgh is content with keeping Meyer as the OL coach. But it is worth noting that Pittsburgh runs a gap scheme on the offensive line currently, and Arthur Smith may want to change that to a wide-zone scheme that he's familiar with.
This is probably just a pipe dream, but there's no question that Mike Munchak's resume and body of work speak for itself. If the prominent offensive line coach came to town, you could take it to the bank that this would be an improved offense in 2024. Arthur Smith and Mike Tomlin should at least make the call to gauge his interest.