AFC North: Larry Zierlein
Colbert said Munchak may have been the most respected offensive line coach in the NFL prior to becoming the Titans' head coach in 2011.
Munchak, a Hall of Fame guard, returned to his roots after the Titans fired him in January, and he joined Mike Tomlin's staff.
“It was real exciting to have the opportunity for him to join us,” Colbert said on Wednesday. “I think [the players] will be all eyes and ears when you have a Hall of Famer talking to you and trying to teach you and I think they're excited for that.”
Hopes for the Steelers' offensive line are as high as they have been under Tomlin.
A line that showed significant improvement in the second half of last season should only get better under the tutelage of Munchak and with the return of Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey.
Munchak figures to work closely with tackles Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert, and he could be the key to unlocking the considerable potential of the former.
“I don't think Coach Munchak was brought in for any one player,” Colbert said in reference to the underachieving Adams. “You hope that he gets the most out of all your guts and obviously he has the credentials to do that.”
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has already met Munchak at the Steelers' practice facility, agreed.
“I know the line will be excited,” Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan, “because any time you have a Hall of Famer coaching you better listen up.”
The move comes as a bit of a surprising considering the progress the offensive line made this season despite constant shuffling because of injuries.
The offensive line allowed just seven sacks in the Steelers’ final seven games. It also helped rookie running back Le'Veon Bell rush for 214 yards in the final two games of the season.
The Steelers lost two starting centers during the course of the season, including Pro Bowler Maurkice Pouncey (torn ACL) in the opener. They had to deal with in-game injuries, it seemed, on a weekly basis, and the loss of Pouncey scuttled the Steelers’ plans to employ a zone-blocking scheme in 2013.
“I have decided to go in a different direction with respect to the coaching of our offensive line,” Tomlin said in a Steelers release. “I want to thank Jack for his contributions during the 2013 season, and I wish him well in the future.”
The Steelers will have their fourth offensive line coach under Tomlin as Bicknell had followed Larry Zierlein and Sean Kugler.
Tomlin fired Ziegler after the 2009 season, and Kugler left after 2012 to become the head coach of UTEP, his alma mater.
The Steelers will begin a search for Bicknell’s successor, and Tomlin could wait to talk to prospective candidates at the Senior Bowl, which will be held Jan. 20-25 and is a veritable job fair for those looking for work.
Bicknell had previously served as the offensive line coach for the Chiefs (2012), Giants (2009-11) and at Boston College (2007-08), his alma mater.
Kugler was the former offensive line coach of the Buffalo Bills. You can read more about Kugler and his stint in Buffalo here in Tim Graham's AFC East blog.
Pittsburgh's offensive line has been a hot topic of discussion the past several seasons. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger likes to extend plays, which makes him very hard to block for and results in a high number of sacks.
Kugler will replace Larry Zierlein next season. It will be interesting to see what adjustments Kugler has in mind to fix Pittsburgh's much-maligned unit.
Both Zierlein and Ligashesky were part of Pittsburgh's original coaching staff brought in by head coach Mike Tomlin in 2007. But the offensive line and special teams units have been inconsistent over that three-year span.
In total, the Steelers have made three coaching moves already this offseason. Quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson also retired this week.
- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady jokingly said he’s "begging" for preferential treatment from officials in Sunday’s playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers fired offensive line coach Larry Zierlein, but will retain offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
- According to Steve Doerschuk of the Canton Repository, Browns quarterback Brady Quinn has looked "erratic" in training camp.
Morning take: Perhaps last week's surprising chants of "D.A.! D.A.! D.A!" rattled Quinn early.
- Mike Prisuta of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes Steelers offensive line coach Larry Zierlein plans to take charge this year.
Morning take: Can he pass protect?
- Cincinnati Bengals safety Marvin White tells ESPN.com he enjoys trash talking with teammate Chad Johnson.
Morning take: As a former Bengals beat writer, I've seen this happen in practice before, and Johnson always gets the last laugh. Fortunately for White, Johnson will be rehabbing his right ankle for a few more weeks.
- Following injuries to tackles Jared Gaither and Adam Terry, the Baltimore Ravens signed tackle Chad Slaughter to a one-year contract.
Morning take: I've heard of Webster, Enos and Sergeant, but never a Chad Slaughter. We will find out soon if he can play.