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    Default Pouncey only getting better

    Steelers center showing even more signs of improvement
    By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    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."

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ID:	3081Pouncey 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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    Default Re: Pouncey only getting better

    Pouncey has been rated by some in the media as the most over rated Steeler. A tough title to achieve in only one year but it may be well deserved. He's not nearly as good as the media or Steeler fans rate him. As a pass blocker he has a long way to go.

    All that said he's much much better than anyone the team has run out there since Jeff Hartings. But he is only in his second year. If some notice a 'dropoff' in his play this year he could actually be improving just not living up to the hype.

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    Default Re: Pouncey only getting better

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaker100 View Post
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    Pouncey has been rated by some in the media as the most over rated Steeler.

    And these are probably the same ******bags that sing the praises of Willie Colon.

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    Default Re: Pouncey only getting better

    Quote Originally Posted by beerman View Post
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    And these are probably the same ******bags that sing the praises of Willie Colon.
    profootballfocus.com rates Colon as the third best right tackle in the NFL. Pouncey at center? Not so much. But he could get there.

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    Default Re: Pouncey only getting better

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaker100 View Post
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    profootballfocus.com rates Colon as the third best right tackle in the NFL.
    I am not suprised... Many of "Steeler Nation" *****, whine, and complain... But bottom line is that he gets the job done. Does he make stupid penalties just as others? Of course... But he really isn't that bad... Especially if you look at the alternatives.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaker100 View Post
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    profootballfocus.com rates Colon as the third best right tackle in the NFL. Pouncey at center? Not so much. But he could get there.
    I agree. That is where he might top out. He really has to work on his penalties this year.

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