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O-line knows what it means to Munchak

Mike Munchak has yet to break out a 'Win One for the Gipper' speech in the offensive line meeting room, and the offensive linemen Munchak coaches with the Steelers aren't expecting such a dissertation any time soon.

But they're as aware of Munchak's resume as they are aware of what will be at stake on Monday night when the Steelers visit the Titans.

"I know he's not in it for personal reasons," offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum said. "He knows that we need to win, and it's another step in our journey. We're coming off a horrible loss in New York and we know we have to bounce back quickly. It's icing on the cake that it's 'Munch's' old team."

Munchak was the head coach in Tennessee for the three seasons that preceded this one. Prior to that he was an assistant coach for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans from 1994-2010. And prior to that Munchak spent 12 years playing guard for the Oilers (1982-93), a stretch of excellence that was recognized with Munchak's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

"He's a little fired up today," guard/center Cody Wallace observed. "That's to be expected, I guess. He has a little extra pep in his step."

It apparently goes beyond Munchak wanting to compete against his former team. The words of wisdom Munchak dispensed to his players on the Wednesday prior to his return to Nashville addressed persistence, not revenge.

"Today he was talking about the 1993 season, when he was with the Oilers," Beachum said. "They started off 1-4 and ended up making the playoffs. There was 'A Football Life' that came out about that team (on NFL Network). We asked him about it, and he went to telling stories about it. It was pretty cool seeing something on TV and then getting some first-hand information from him.

"There was a moment in the meeting where (center Maurkice) Pouncey was like, 'Hey let's have story time again.' (Munchak) has so much knowledge and just brings so much to the table, just a different type of aura to the room."

Much of what Munchak describes and details to his players involves scheme and technique. But the story he related this week about the 1993 Houston Oilers was neither out of place nor out of character.

The Steelers aren't 1-4, as Munchak's Oilers were back in the day. But coming off a 20-13 loss to the Jets, one that Beachum assessed as "horrible," it's easy to appreciate where Munchak was coming from in telling his tale of redemption.

"When he sees fit to bring up a story that's relevant to what we're going through, that's what suits us best," Beachum said. "He's not just talking about 'back when I played the game …' It's more relevant to what's going on. He always has something that gets us going."

Guard David DeCastro maintained Munchak is approaching Monday night as just another game, or at least trying to impress as much upon his players. But DeCastro can also appreciate that there's a little more to it than that.   

"He hasn't been any different, really," DeCastro said. "He hasn't shown it if there is a little extra in there. He's kind of treating it like a normal game.

"But with all the things he's helped us with, the least we can do is get him a win. Obviously, we want to get a win just for the team's sake. But yeah, it's a little extra motivation. You can't really put into words how much he's helped us."

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