With Munchak on staff, Steelers will zone in

With Munchak on staff, Steelers will zone in
January 23, 2014, 9:30 am
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The Steelers got their man to fill the offensive line coach position, former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak. This could be a big deal for Pittsburgh.

In fact, ESPN.com’s Scott Brown termed it this way: “The Steelers made what will probably go down as their most significant acquisition of the offseason Wednesday when Mike Munchak agreed to become their next offensive line coach.”

Munchak, a Hall of Fame offensive guard for the Houston Oilers, is expected to be just the tutor the Steelers line needs as it again tries to implement a zone blocking scheme. This attempt was scuttled this season when center Maurkice Pouncey suffered a year-ending ACL injury in the opening game.

Zone blocking is more about quick feet and positioning than just raw power, and its successful installation could bring back the running game that traditionally has been such a big part of Pittsburgh’s offense. This season, the Steelers tied for 27th in the league in total rushing yards and tied for 29th in average yards per rush at 3.5. (The Ravens, by the way, were last in the NFL in yards per rush at 3.1.)

In his rookie season, running back Le’Veon Bell finished up with three straight games of at least 20 carries. When the Steelers play the Ravens next season, expect to see Pittsburgh feeding Bell the ball an awful lot as the line tries to get in the zone.