After being considered for and then eventually passed up as the next head coach for the Denver Broncos, Mike Munchak was hired to be the offensive line coach, OLC. He spent the past five seasons as the Pittsburgh Steeler’s OLC and was the Titan’s OLC from 1997 until he took over as their head coach in 2011. He dates back to when they were still called the Oilers.
I’m fully aware that many NFL fans could not name their favorite team’s OLC much less any other NFL OLC, but I will ask you, the reader, to trust me here. Having an elite OLC can make up for many talent gaps on the offensive side of the ball.
So let’s start by seeing how his OL’s have ranked. We have plenty of data to use, but I am going to draw heavily on www.footballoutsiders.com for this. I will be using: adjusted line yards (ALY) which measures how much of their rushing yardage was independent of RB talent; power rank which ranks how well the OL did in short yardage and goal line situations; stuffed ranking which shows how infrequently (or frequently) running plays gained 2 or fewer yards; and adjusted sack rate rank which factors in how often a team was throwing the ball.
Below are the rankings for all of Munchak’s OL’s excluding his three years as HC. Note that I will not be discussing the quality or health of the OL starters each year. That could be a whole separate study.
|Year||Age||Team||Adjusted Line Yards||Power Rank||Suffed Rank||Adjusted sack rate|
The average rank in ALY for his OL’s is 16.6, for power it’s 15.6, for stuffed it’s 16.0, and for adjusted sack rate rank it’s 8.7. While the ALY, power and stuffed average ranks are not amazing, it should be noted that if we focus solely on his recent stint as the OLC for Pittsburgh, those values jump to 7.8, 11.2, and 5.0. In other words, his offensive lines in Pittsburgh have been outstanding year in and year out.
It should also be noted that he has done an excellent job of coaching pass protection ever when he had far-from-elite QB’s to protect. His OL’s have been in the top quartile in pass protection eleven times in twenty-one years as an NFL OLC.
Of course we need to have context, so let’s see how the Bronco’s OL’s have done in these four metrics this century to get some comparative context.
|Year||Adjusted Line Yards||Power Rank||Suffed Rank||Adjusted sack rate|
You should note two things here. Firstly, Peyton Manning made his offensive lines look elite even when they were far from elite. Secondly, the average ranks for the Bronco’s OL’s this century are: ALY - 11.5; Power - 18.6; Stuffed - 12.7; and Adjusted sack rate - 12.9.
This data seems to suggest that Muncak, at least earlier in his career, was not that great of an OLC. We need to bring in at least one more team for a meaningful comparison, so I chose to bring in the Patriots since their OLC, Dante Scarnechia, gets talked about as being the best in the game.
|ALY Rank||Power Rank||Stuffed Rank|
I went back to 2010 for this data to show how the Broncos, Patriots and Steelers OL’s have ranked during the most recent nine seasons, but I also wanted you to be able to see where the Steeler’s OL was before Mike Munchak took over as their OLC so that you could see where they have improved. From a run game perspective here are the average rankings for the Steelers in ALY, power and stuffed during Munchak’s tenure as OLC - 7.8, 11.2 and 5.0. In the four years before that their average ranks were 17.8, 19.0 and 22.0. So you can see that the Steeler’s OL dramatically improved as a run blocking unit under Munchak. For comparison the average ranks for the Bronco’s OL’s over this whole time period were 13.7, 17.6 and 14.6. The Patriot’s OL’s: 3.0, 18.7 and 8.2. You could make a legit argument that the Patriots OL was better at run blocking overall during this time from than the Steeler’s OL under Munchak.
Now let’s turn to some of other OL performance data from another source to get some clarification. This data is www.profootballfocus.com. They call it pass blocking efficiency and it is similar to adjusted sack rate with some more nuances though. Ranks for the three teams from 2010-2018 are below.
You can see that the Steeler’s OL under Munchak has been the best in the league at PBE over the past five seasons significantly better than the Broncos and the Pats. The average PBE rank for each team’s OL over the past five seasons is DEN - 18.4, NE - 17.2, and PIT - 6.4. That average of 6.4 is best in the league over the past five seasons.
From a play by play perspective what did the improved pass blocking of the Steelers under Munchak mean relative to their prior five years? Let’s dig into the data, most of which is from PFF. The table below shows the difference and it is dramatic.
|Time Span||Rank||Pass Snaps||Sacks Allowed||Hits Allowed||Hurries Allowed||Pressures Allowed||Pressure Allowed Rate||PBE|
The were in the bottom third of the league in PBE every year from 2009 to 2013 (note that I expanded the time window to include 2009 so that we would be comparing the five years prior to Munchak in PIT and the five years with Munchak). The were in the top 10 in PBE in four out of five years that Munchak was their OLC. They went from allowing 28.8 sacks per year to allowing 17.4. They went from allowing pressure on 28.8% of their passing plays allowing pressure on only 23.1%. They went from bad to elite pretty quickly once Mike Munchak took over.
For those who want more background here is the link to my older piece about Munchak. I apologize for not going into detail in this piece regarding individual offensive lineman who Munchak has helped to become better players during his coaching career. I am still planning on writing that up, but this one took priority.
Mike Munchak is
This poll is closed
the best OLC in the NFL
one of the best OLC’s in the NFL
just another OLC coach
the most interesting man in the world