The Denver Broncos nearly hired Mike Munchak as their HC, but got him for their offensive line as a consolation. How good are his units?
Mike Munchak loves his family so much, he was willing to leave the Pittsburgh Steelers to become offensive line coach of the Denver Broncos even after interviewing for the team’s head coaching position.
And he was probably the runner-up to Vic Fangio, at that.
Munchak was a Hall of Fame offensive lineman, which at this point is well documented. He was also one of the NFL’s top assistants with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans from 1994-2010 before he was hired as the Titans’ head coach in 2011.
It was a tough time to be a rookie head coach in the NFL, and the Titans selected Jake Locker to lead the franchise they had just handed over to Munchak.
Like I said, very tough.
Munchak lasted three seasons before he was fired by Tennessee and moved on to the Steelers, where he re-established what was already a well-known fact at that point — the guy can coach offensive linemen.
But the proof is always in the product. We in Broncos Country have heard all offseason how good Munchak’s offensive lines are, but what does that even mean? How can we measure that?
One way is to look at Pro Football Focus’ grades, which offer us a glimpse into how good Munchak’s groups are.
I took a look at Munchak’s five years with the Steelers on PFF’s pass blocking and run blocking grades overall. Here’s where those units ranked.
2014: Pass blocking – 4th; Run blocking – 14th
2015: Pass blocking – 6th; Run blocking – 13th
2016: Pass blocking – 2nd; Run blocking – 4th
2017: Pass blocking – 1st; Run blocking – 7th
2018: Pass blocking – 2nd; Run blocking – 12th
Especially with the way the NFL has been trending, those pass blocking numbers are incredible. Just to make sure you don’t think these numbers are inflated because of Munchak’s personnel in Pittsburgh, he had the top pass blocking unit by PFF efficiency grade in 2011 with the Titans as well, the first year he was the head coach of that team.
Munchak has a proven track record through the years and it’s no wonder many feel like the Broncos pulled off one of the shrewdest moves this offseason getting Munchak into the Mile High City.
The only other offensive line coach that gets as much publicity and respect as Munchak in the NFL today is New England’s Dante Scarnecchia, who was infamously brought out of retirement after the Broncos pummeled Tom Brady in the 2015 AFC Championship game.
The Patriots’ OL has been a brick wall since he came back.
These position coaches do matter. The players matter as well, but these guys have to know how to teach and who better to learn from than a Hall of Famer like Munchak?
The Broncos’ offensive line should take a monumental leap in 2019.