Now that Mike Munchak knows what he is doing, he intends to do more of what he knows best.
The Tennessee Titans coach spent a lot of time with the offensive linemen Friday afternoon during one of the on-field sessions of the team’s rookie orientation. He said it was no different than what he has done with the veterans since the start of the offseason conditioning program three weeks ago.
“The first couple years was harder because you have to find how to manage your time,” Munchak said. “If you’re going to start doing things you’re going to have to figure out how you’re going to do that. I feel like I have a very good handle on what I need to be doing on a daily basis and on a practice basis.
“So this time of year especially, when you’re in OTAs and in minicamp I have the time to help and to add to that equation.”
Before he was promoted to head coach a little more than two years ago he spent 14 seasons as the team’s offensive line coach.
He also was a Hall of Fame guard during his playing career, as was offensive line coach Bruce Matthews. Together those two offer a degree of experience and expertise that no staff on any of the NFL’s other 31 teams can match.
Only 10 players in the modern era made the Hall of Fame with guard as their first or only position. Munchak and Matthews are two of them.
“It’s something Bruce and I talked about, a couple years ago actually, that at some point I’d like to be more involved where you’re actually involved,” Munchak said. “… We’ll see how it goes. We’re just kind of playing it day-by-day, but it’s something I enjoy. I know he does. We work well together and we feel we can bring a great impact – we feel – on this offensive line this year.”
Perhaps it’s just coincidence but that offensive line includes two high draft picks – first-rounder Chance Warmack and fourth-rounder Brian Schwenke – as well has high-priced free agent Andy Levitre.
“The expectations are really high,” Warmack said. “They make fun of me sometimes when I mess up but it’s all in fun. I can’t wait to continue to build a relationship with them. They’re going to help me become a great player.”
The Titans have not had a Pro Bowl offensive lineman since center Kevin Mawae in 2009.
Either Munchak or Matthews was in charge of that group each of the last three seasons. Now, though, they intend to work together, particularly at this time of year when there are no game plans to be created, pregame speeches to be crafted or game film to be reviewed and graded.
“As a head coach, I always wanted to be more involved – as much as I can,” Munchak said. “One of the reasons I love this phase of it is being more involved with the players in a more hands-on basis.
“…I’ve been working with the veterans also, in the meetings, more so than I have in the past. I think you’ll see a lot more of that with the two of us doing it, which we always wanted to do. … This gives me a chance to get hands-on with these guys on a daily basis I the meetings and things like that. I’m looking forward to it.”
He’s not the only one.
“It’s a great experience, just learning from those guys and learning different techniques and the tempo that you need to run in the NFL,” Warmack said. “I’m just picking their brains and asking them questions, and it’s helping me improve.”