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Big T
08-02-2010, 04:30 AM
On the Steelers: Pouncey's future is at center, but is it now or later?
Monday, August 02, 2010
By Ed Bouchette Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers selected Maurkice Pouncey in the first round of the draft earlier this year and took little time to announce him as their center of the future. The question after two days of training camp has become, is the future now?

While Pouncey has the coaching staff's official stamp as competitor to start at right guard, it became quickly evident that he was the most talented center in camp after his first two practices Saturday, which went well.

But he must overcome a hamstring injury that occurred in a most unusual way Sunday morning. Pouncey arrived Friday night on a flight from Florida, leaving after his agent came to terms on a five-year contract with the Steelers earlier that day. He reported about 45 minutes after midnight and missed the run conditioning test and his first meetings because of it.

So, coach Mike Tomlin had him go through the run tests Saturday morning and he reportedly passed. But for some reason, he had to endure more conditioning tests Sunday morning and that's when he injured his hamstring.

He's only supposed to miss a few days, but it's an injury that probably did not need to happen. Before it did, people in the organization were talking about how they had not seen this kind of play by a center against nose tackles since Dermontti Dawson retired a decade ago. Pouncey, who lined up at center and right guard in the two Saturday practices at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, moves nose tackles back. He gets low, gets leverage and away they go as if on roller skates. His feet move like no center since Dawson.

Of course, it's early and he has not had a chance to go against perhaps the premier nose tackle in the league yet because Casey Hampton spent his second consecutive day of camp tending to his own hamstring injury. But when they both heal, that day will come.

"We'll see; he's a real good player, real big," said Pouncey, who is listed at 6 feet 4, 304 pounds.

The goal against Hampton, who is conservatively listed at 325, is the same as the others for Pouncey, to move him out.

"I hope so, that's the plan. We're definitely going to go at it, heck yeah, and my plan is not go get pushed back."

The Steelers could also find themselves ripping up their own plan for Pouncey, or at least adjusting it. He has not played guard since his freshman season at Florida and is more suited to center. At guard, he has to reach to get to the defensive tackles. At center, he usually has a man right over him -- especially in the 3-4 defenses -- and that is where he excels.

Justin Hartwig has been the team's starting center the past two seasons and gave them a lift in their Super Bowl run after Sean Mahan failed miserably in 2007. The Steelers even signed him to a new contract last summer that runs through 2012. Hartwig was limited in the preseason after having shoulder surgery and he has to prove he can again be effective.

So while the clear opening remains at right guard, there have been internal discussions on the Steelers already about whether to just move Pouncey to center now rather than wait a year to get him started. To be sure, Dawson played his rookie season at right guard before embarking on a Hall of Fame-like career for the Steelers in his second season. But the center in Dawson's rookie season was a guy named Mike Webster.

The Steelers staff has an open mind on putting Pouncey at center and letting someone else play right guard, which is why he lined up Saturday at both positions.

"Whatever they want me to play I'm ready for," Pouncey said.

One reason Tomlin cited for starting Pouncey at guard was he did not want to overwhelm him because of all the calls the center must make.

"As a young guy coming in, it's probably easier mentally to play guard because it's more receiving information as opposed to giving it," Tomlin said after they drafted him.

Since that day, they have found that Pouncey picked up things quickly and they now believe he can handle those calls.

"I mean, at center, I have to know everything that's going on," Pouncey said. "Every call, I can't mess up then. There's a lot you have to learn, you have to call out the mike [middle linebacker] every play even though they're not going to him. There's just things you have to learn, all the calls and everything to help the other guys out."

His coaches believe he can do it. Now it's just a matter of whether they let him do it now or wait until next season.



Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10214/1077049-66.stm?cmpid=steelers.xml#ixzz0vQoWjV5m

Now please....

Silverback
08-02-2010, 05:17 AM
I like the sounds of this.

steelcitysfinestXL
08-02-2010, 08:33 AM
It sounds like a 3 man race for two positions... with Pouncey leading them both, lol!!!
Seriously, Its whos better out of Hartwig at C (with pouncey at RG) or Essex at RG (with pouncey at C) I Personally wanna see where legursky fits into this race... he's a big strong guy that i think CAN crack this interior lineup. If Pouncey is ready to go at C and he's the best C we got ( no suprise) then lets put him there and make sure he can handle making the calls! I think Physically AND mentally, he and Flozell are REALLY gonna sure this line up in a hurry!!!

BlitzburghRockCity
08-02-2010, 09:41 AM
As long as his hamstring doesn't become a problem, it's a real possibility that Pouncey could be starting at Center for us on opening day. Honestly I'm all for it. You can let Essex play RG, and Adams at RT and we could have ourselves a pretty solid group after all. I don't want Pouncey at RG personally, I know he can play it but man get that kid at Center and let him get into it.

Callax
08-02-2010, 02:21 PM
this year:
Pouncey at RG
Legursky at C
Next year:

Pouncey at C
Urbik at RG

Big T
08-02-2010, 03:16 PM
this year:
Pouncey at RG
Legursky at C
Next year:

Pouncey at C
Urbik at RG

Urbik will never be a starter on this team. I'd bet my house on it. He might not even make the team this year....

BlackGold4vr
08-02-2010, 03:17 PM
Let him play center. Thats what we drafted him for and based upon the play we have gotten out of that position the last two years he can't do any worse. Nothing more valuable than on-the-job-training. I believe you would see him make great strides this year if they let him play center. Let the other scrubs (Essex, Foster) fight it out for the starting RG position.

:2cents:

K Train
08-02-2010, 03:55 PM
Urbik will never be a starter on this team. I'd bet my house on it. He might not even make the team this year....
the day urbik gets cut will be the day my ego grows wayyyyy too big and several threads get bumped


pouncey might not be the center now, but its definitely sooner rather than later. essex needs to be backup LT only, hes the worst guard in the league and hartwig is the worst center in steeler history by a very large margin. essex is a good pass blocker in a finesse way, he was awful at pass blocking in the interior because its a raw power skill more than a finesse one when your inside.

i like pouncey at center and foster at RG. imo thats our best chance to win. keep essex as a backup, axe urbik, cut hartwig, keep legursky as a backup

BlackGold4vr
08-02-2010, 04:10 PM
the day urbik gets cut will be the day my ego grows wayyyyy too big and several threads get bumped

Hartwig is the worst center in steeler history by a very large margin.

i like pouncey at center and foster at RG. imo thats our best chance to win. keep essex as a backup, axe urbik, cut hartwig, keep legursky as a backup


I agree with everything you said except the statement in red. I believe Sean Mahan would have something to say about that accolade. Certainly even if Hartwig is worse than Mahan it can't be by a large margin. If you remember Mahans nickname was "turnstile" because he let everything come through.

:lol:

Black@Gold Forever32
08-02-2010, 06:08 PM
Mahan was worse but Hartwig isn't that much better........I like Legurksy but of course Pouncey is the center of the future and I wanted Pouncey....I just hope if Pouncey starts out at RG then Legursky will be the starting center and the Steelers cut Hartwig........If Pouncey wins the center battle then Foster at RG..........

Stairwayto7
08-02-2010, 06:34 PM
would love to see him play asap

K Train
08-02-2010, 07:24 PM
I agree with everything you said except the statement in red. I believe Sean Mahan would have something to say about that accolade. Certainly even if Hartwig is worse than Mahan it can't be by a large margin. If you remember Mahans nickname was "turnstile" because he let everything come through.

:lol:

statistically hartwig has given up 18 sacks in 2 years....11 and 7. the next highest each year was 4. mahan got blown off the ball alot, but he never was as bad as hartwig who simply gets steam rolled play after play.

hartwig could EASILY sit out 2010 and still lead the league in sacks given up over the past 3 years for interior linemen

Black@Gold Forever32
08-02-2010, 08:13 PM
Bottom line both Mahan and Hartwig are trash and not NFL starting centers.......I can't wait for Pouncey to take over the center spot....But in the mean time really can Legursky be any worse then Hartwig?.....lol

K Train
08-02-2010, 08:24 PM
Bottom line both Mahan and Hartwig are trash and not NFL starting centers.......I can't wait for Pouncey to take over the center spot....But in the mean time really can Legursky be any worse then Hartwig?.....lol

quick answer: no

i think id rather have shipley....you KNOW how i feel about that PoS

Black@Gold Forever32
08-02-2010, 08:41 PM
quick answer: no

i think id rather have shipley....you KNOW how i feel about that PoS

Shipley is your boy....lol just kidding........

LatrobePA
08-02-2010, 10:19 PM
I'd rather just lay the ball on the ground and have NO center than Hartwig!

HUNT4SEVEN
08-02-2010, 10:44 PM
With the college resume he has and it's obvious the game is not to big for him he needs to be the center NOW and they can move that BUM Hartpig to guard, Pouncey is intelligent and if he can hold his own against Big Snack he has to play this year at center...

Big T
08-03-2010, 03:18 AM
My man crush on Maurkice Pouncey grows everyday... (which seems almost impossible seeing as how I'm a Gators fan).

JensK
08-03-2010, 04:11 AM
words out of TC is that Pouncey have been able to pretty much destroy everything send his way, although many feel like they have yet to see him being as "smooth" as he was in college, which will probably come as TC progresses and he learns the playbook a little better.

UKSTEELER
08-03-2010, 10:29 AM
Dude needs to start at center. :helmet:

cmerrifield
08-03-2010, 10:34 AM
I am all for Pouncey starting at center, his blown assignments for just being green wont cause the line to give up more sacks than Hartwig did by being steamrolled. My issue is that Hartwig admitted on camera that he has issues keeping his weight up. Why would we resign a guy who cant keep his weight up, with so many teams now playing 3-4?

Layin the wood
08-03-2010, 10:38 AM
Pouncey could do no worse than Hartwig ( Hell nobody can) so i say let him start at C.