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Thread: Maurkice Pouncey showing even more signs of improvement

          
   
   
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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Maurkice Pouncey showing even more signs of improvement

    A smile is etched across Maurkice Pouncey's face so often it seems as permanent as one of the many tattoos that cover his body. Yet anytime there is pushing and shoving after a play, chances are the Steelers center is involved.

    Given that seeming contradiction, it makes perfect sense that Pouncey describes himself as a "young old" guy as he prepares for his second NFL season.
    "I'm a young guy in age," said Pouncey, who turned 22 in late July, "but on the field I'm kind of older."

    Pouncey was the first Steelers offensive rookie since Ron Shanklin in 1970 to start every game during the regular season. In emerging as an anchor up front, Pouncey also became the first Steelers rookie offensive lineman to make the Pro Bowl since Frank Varrichione in 1955.

    And all indications point to Pouncey building on a first season that exceeded all expectations.

    "I have seen more leadership from him," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "He's being more vocal in his group, which is a good thing. He's earned that. If he takes a big leap between year one and year two, that would be pretty extraordinary."
    Such progress would also go a long way toward helping running back Rashard Mendenhall eclipse 1,000 rushing yards for a third consecutive season and limiting the number of hits quarterback Ben Roethlisberger absorbs.

    Pouncey's development may be the biggest reason for optimism on an offensive line that has its share of detractors and doubters.

    "I just love everything about him," said veteran wide receiver Hines Ward. "He's a hard worker, he's always hustling and he's got a little bit of nastiness to him. Being the leaders of that line, you need to have that, and I think they're all starting to follow his lead."

    Pouncey, the youngest starter on the Steelers, has embraced a leadership role.
    "This year I'm so much more comfortable, especially with calling defenses," he said. "It's just a lot different, a lot different scenery now. I'm not too worried about what's going on in practice, I can go out there and comfortably call stuff and go out there and perform."

    It's probably a little unsettling for defenders who locked up with Pouncey in 2010 to think about how much better the 6-foot-4, 304-pounder could be in his second season.

    In addition to strength, Pouncey has the athleticism to get to the second level of blockers, the signature of former Steelers great Dermontti Dawson.
    The one thing Pouncey didn't do in his rookie season was suit up for the Super Bowl. An ankle sprain sustained in the AFC Championship Game sidelined Pouncey for the biggest game of his life.

    He could only watch helplessly as the Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers, something he called the "worst feeling I've ever had."

    "It won't be his last Super Bowl," Ward said. "He'll get back."

    Pouncey, whose twin brother Mike is a rookie with the Miami Dolphins, appears to be serious in doing just that.

    Despite the loss of offseason workouts and practices due to the NFL lockout, Pouncey reported to training camp in the kind of physical condition that drew praise from Tomlin.

    Pouncey said he is always prepared, even if that means coming to the aid of one of his teammates after the whistle has blown.

    In other words, don't let the smile fool you. "I'm an aggressive player, and I won't back down," Pouncey said. "As an offensive lineman, you can never show anybody a weakness. There might be some things you get beat on, but backing down isn't one of them."

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Sometimes you wonder when a player bursts onto the scene in their rookie year, how will they handle year 2? With Pouncey, I don't think we have anything to worry about. He never hit that old rookie wall that players used to run into later in the year. His production increased as the year went on and he ended up getting voted to the pro bowl.

    Pretty unheard of for a rookie in general but at Center, for the Steelers? Nobody thought it would happen that quickly, but it did. He reminds me so much of Dawson when I watch him play; very athletic, quick on feet, and able to hold his ground no matter who he's up against.

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    K Train's Avatar
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    he looked rough against the skins but was fantastic against the eagles. if tony hills turns out the be the real deal like i think he is this interior line looks SOLID after being hands down the worst 2-3 years ago

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    Head Coach LatrobePA's Avatar
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    Badass, love him!
    "Happy Happy Happy"

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    2nd String harpo's Avatar
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    Some would say that in about 2 or 3 years, he's going to be the best center in the NFL. I would argue that he's the best center in the league right now.

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    mangold and mack are really good centers, but pouncey is the 3rd best imo but he also is by far the most athletic and has the most upside left

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    2nd String harpo's Avatar
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    Not taking anything away from Mangold and Mack, but i'd still put Pouncey at the top. What Pouncey lacks in experience (which isn't much), he makes up for in his athleticism.

    This kid is going to be something special, maybe unlike we've ever seen at the position.

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    Draft Pick Lunchbucket's Avatar
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    I hope he has as long a run here as Dawson and Webster did at that position.He has all the tools and is only getting better.WOW!!

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    I always want the Steelers to draft an OT but early on in the draft process last year I knew once again the Steelers wouldn't have a chance to get one of the top OT's and I thought hey might as well and draft the best center in the draft.....I stated that Pouncey will be the best center to come out in the last 20 years and I stand by that statement......

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    I'm just glad we finally have a Center to carry on the tradition started by Mike Webster.

    There was a time when the Steelers only had 3 starting Centers in like 30 something years. Then the Sean Mahan disaster and all the injuries, etc. It's nice to have a guy that in theory will be your Center for the next 12-14 years atleast.

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