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Broncos replace Mike Munchak with Butch Barry

Nathaniel Hackett hires assistant OL coach to replace Hall of Famer

San Francisco 49ers v Detroit Lions
The 49ers Butch Barry will be the new OL coach
Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Now that Nathaniel Hackett is the Denver Broncos new head coach, the staff churn is underway. According to 9News’ Mike Klis the Broncos are set to hire the San Francisco 49ers assistant offensive line coach Butch Barry to replace Mike Munchak as their offensive line coach.

Much like the Justin Outten hire, Hackett is clearly familiar with Barry, who joined the 49ers after spending the 2020 season as a senior analyst with the Green Bay Packers. Prior to the 2020 season Barry spent the previous four years working as an assistant offensive line coach with the University of Miami and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Before he was an assistant with the Bucs Barry was the Central Michigan Chippewas offensive line coach in 2014.

I have to admit I am personally extremely skeptical of this hire because of the opportunity cost. Mike Munchak is widely regarded as one of the two best offensive line coaches in the NFL. There’s been rampant speculation by Broncos media members that Munchak’s out because of a push for more outside zone, but it was the second most utilized run concept in Denver from 2020-2021. On top of that Munchak left the Pittsburgh Steelers for Denver in 2019 to be closer to family, so it’s hard to imagine he’s leaving on his own accord.

Last season the Broncos ranked 18th by Football Outsiders Adjusted Line Yards metric, a figure that is inflated by the fact Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams were both extremely productive on the second and third level. While it’s worth noting that quarterbacks play a significant role in sack and pressure rates, it’s notable that the trio of Teddy Bridgewater, Drew Lock, and Brett Rypien were sacked on 6.02% of their drop backs in 2021, which is the 16th highest mark in the league. It is worth mentioning the role injuries played in the numbers. Five different tackles and five different guards played at least 40 offensive snaps.

Beyond the numbers though, it’s hard to argue the Broncos line did not regress when healthy in 2021. After making second team All Pro the previous year, Garett Bolles was a Pro Bowl alternate. Beside him Dalton Risner continued to struggle against quick twitch rushers while also showing less play strength than previous seasons. On the right side Graham Glasgow struggled with injuries and eventually gave way to Quinn Meinerz, who was a much better run blocker than pass protector as a rookie.

Now they’ll have a new offensive line coach. Knowledge of the Packers way seems to be very important to Hackett, so much so that he’s willing to hire Butch Barry. Let’s hope it works out.

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