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Thread: Changing of the guard, well, center

      
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    Default Changing of the guard, well, center

    From Scott Brown's blog, "View From The Press Box"...

    Changing of the guard, well, center
    August 25th, 2010

    [HIGH-LIGHT]In yet another sign that Maurkice Pouncey is the center of the present and future -– and that Justin Hartwig’s days in Pittsburgh are numbered -– the rookie first-round draft pick worked exclusively with the first-team offense Wednesday.[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Talking to reporters following the Steelers’ first practice of the week, Pouncey wore a broad smile and said, “Hopefully, I’ll get that same smile tomorrow. I’m happy.”

    Hartwig made it clear that he is not as he declined to talk after practice, saying he had to lift weights.

    Hartwig’s reaction is understandable considering he has started 35 consecutive games at center. But there is no denying that the Steelers won’t be able to keep Pouncey off the field this season, and that he is a potential star at center.

    The former Florida star has picked up responsibilities such as making blocking adjustments at the line of scrimmage even quicker than the Steelers coaches had hoped.

    And Pouncey has shown in two preseason games that he can quickly get to the second level on running plays and that he is more than adequate as a pass blocker.

    It certainly appears as if the Steelers are preparing the 6-4, 304-pounder to play center. When asked when he last played guard -- he worked primarily at right guard during offseason practices -- Pouncey said, “probably last week.”

    Hartwig almost certainly has to start to make the team.

    He can play guard if needed because of an injury but the Steelers have a less expensive option in a backup interior lineman in Doug Legursky.

    Not that Pouncey is claiming victory in his battle with Hartwig for the starting job.

    “I’m just following their lead,” he said of the coaches.

    That seems to be leading right to the starting lineup.

    http://blog.triblive.com/view-from-t...d-well-center/
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    Default Re: Changing of the guard, well, center

    1st good thing the Steelers have done to improve our O-Line in a long time.

    See what spending quality picks on the O-Line can do, front office, now let that be a lesson and keep it up!!!

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    Default Re: Changing of the guard, well, center

    Oh please tell me this is true. The solidity of an O-line starts with the center and Hartwig has needed way too much help in that position since he has been with the Steelers. It is about time he was relegated to someone like the Lions, Bills, or some other crappy team. Hopefully Pouncey is the reincarnation of the great Steeler centers of the past.

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    Default Re: Changing of the guard, well, center

    I think a good or great center makes the entire line better. The center is the foundation to the o-line. I wonder if Hartwig will be retained by the Steelers or if not, I wonder if any team will pick him up ? I'm sure he'll remain in football shape in case a center is needed during the season.

    I do feel bad for a lineman when he losses his job because that position and especially offensive linemen seems to be a real buddy buddy bunch and you become close. To be the man that is cut has to hurt. Still glad for the improvement.

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    Default Re: Changing of the guard, well, center

    If Pouncey is going to be the starter and it looks like that's a possibility, everyone is going to have to be patient with the guy. He's going to make mistakes. That's what you get with a rookie lineman.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetchuck View Post
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    If Pouncey is going to be the starter and it looks like that's a possibility, everyone is going to have to be patient with the guy. He's going to make mistakes. That's what you get with a rookie lineman.
    I will certainly be patient. I really wanted him to be a starter this year even it it's at guard. Let him get the learning experience out of the way. By next year I think the offense is going to have to start carrying more of the load.

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    Default Re: Changing of the guard, well, center

    Stupid.

    I like Pouncey. Think he'll be the starter at Center next season, but we have a chance to make this line stronger by getting a big pile of crap like Trai Essex out of there and starting Pouncey at RG this year to help strengthen up the right side of a line that features Slowzell Adams. Hartwig is more than fine at Center for another season.

    So in effect what we're doing is improving the Center position by a little bit when we could improve RG by a lot since Hartwig is far better than Essex. Instead, the right side of the line is going to be dangerously slow + bad when it could be better by putting Pouncey at rG
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    Default Re: Changing of the guard, well, center

    On the Steelers: No. 1 pick Pouncey No. 1 center
    Impressive start shoves him past Hartwig and into rare spot for rookie
    Thursday, August 26, 2010
    By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Peter Diana/Post-GazetteSteelers rookie center Maurkice Pouncey protects the quarterback against the Lions in pre-season action at Heinz Field.The Maurkice Pouncey Era seems ready to begin. The rookie moved onto the first team at center for an entire practice Wednesday and smiled broadly at the prospect of opening the season as the Steelers' starter.

    "It put a big smile on me," Pouncey said after practice, acknowledging he took every snap with the first team. "I ain't going to lie, but I just need to go out there and practice every day. I want to stay humble. I'm happy about it. I just want to stay humble and keep working at it."

    The move has been in the works since the Steelers' coaching staff was blown away by Pouncey's first two practices of training camp July 31. It was after that day they began to re-think their intention of letting Pouncey compete to start at right guard as a rookie, rather than compete with veteran Justin Hartwig at center. As camp progressed, so did Pouncey until coach Mike Tomlin had him split time with Hartwig and the first team all last week in practices.

    That division ended Wednesday and, while Pouncey was all smiles, Hartwig was in no mood to talk about it. Hartwig practiced exclusively with the backups Wednesday. He declined to take a question about it.

    "Maurkice Pouncey has done a nice job with every opportunity we have given him thus far," Tomlin said after practice. "We continue to give him more opportunities. We recognize that Jamal Williams, who plays nose guard for the Denver Broncos, is a perennial Pro Bowl-caliber player. It's going to be an awesome opportunity to measure where he is against a guy that caliber. That's what it's all about more than anything else."

    Even quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, citing the benefits of playing in the preseason, mentioned "getting used to taking reps with Pouncey" among them.

    Pouncey has been dominant at center, where he started the past two seasons at Florida. Several times, he has been seen handling his block at the line of scrimmage, then moving ahead to block someone else, often a linebacker.

    Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton has played against many centers over the previous nine seasons and said Pouncey has a combination of attributes many centers do not possess.

    "A lot of centers you play against are either quick and weak or they're strong and not quick. He's got both. He's quick and he's really strong. He recovers real well. He does a good job staying on his feet. I think he's going to be a good player."

    Pouncey is so quick, his defensive teammates say, that he can make an early mistake and recover to make the block.

    "With a center, man, you can't teach that," Hampton said. "If you got that, it helps a whole lot. That's the downfall of a lot of centers, getting beat quick, because guys are so close on you. But he's so athletic, he recovers and stays on his feet. That's the other thing about him, he's hardly ever on the ground."

    No rookie has become a regular starter for the Steelers since tight end Heath Miller in 2005, when he started the opener and 15 of 16 games.

    One more surprise
    Pouncey might not be the only surprise starter Sunday night in Denver.

    It looks as though Roethlisberger might make his second start of the preseason at quarterback and Dennis Dixon will get his first chance to run the first team after him.

    "I intend to give Dennis Dixon some looks with the first group against some good people," Tomlin said. "I think he's earned that likewise. And that's what this preseason is all about."

    Normally, Roethlisberger starting a third preseason game would be no revelation, but he cannot start in the regular season until at least the fifth game Oct. 17 and the Steelers are trying to prepare Byron Leftwich and Dixon to play in his absence.

    "I like playing football, it's what I love to do, so, if I can get out there, I'll enjoy it," said Roethlisberger, who started Saturday night against the New York Giants and played 30 snaps.

    From coach to father figure
    Roethlisberger described his new relationship with Bill Cowher as "almost fatherly" and said the two talk on occasion after he reached out to his former coach.

    Cowher told The Associated Press this week that he believes Roethlisberger has matured after ignoring some of his advice as a young player.

    "Any time a hall of fame coach kind of gives that fatherly advice, it's quite a neat thing and an honor that he sees you in that light and it's a good thing," Roethlisberger said after practice.

    "It's gone from being a rookie quarterback and a coach who was around for a long time to a guy I can talk to and have almost a fatherly relationship to a point. It's a lot easier for both of us to have that relationship."

    Quick hits
    Tomlin said that "We're going to look at Antonio Brown more as a punt and kickoff returner, and build some schemes off the skill set we thought we looked at from him last week." Punter Daniel Sepulveda also will kick off for the second consecutive game after Tomlin said, "I thought he did a great job" against the Giants. ... Cornerback Bryant McFadden has a pectoral muscle injury and likely will not play against Denver. He could be replaced in the starting lineup by Keenan Lewis, who returned to practice after leaving the game Saturday night with a concussion. ... Rookie running back Jonathan Dwyer also practiced after missing all the practices last week and the Saturday night game because of a shoulder injury.



    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10238...#ixzz0xhGvCGa6
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    Default Re: Changing of the guard, well, center

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetchuck View Post
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    If Pouncey is going to be the starter and it looks like that's a possibility, everyone is going to have to be patient with the guy. He's going to make mistakes. That's what you get with a rookie lineman.

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    Default Re: Changing of the guard, well, center

    Who was that center we wanted last year, his name isn't coming across but the Browns picked him up ? You think Pouncey will end up being better than him ?

    I think the Steelers haven't realized just how low of quality offensive linemen that we have had until Pouncey showed up. They seem really impressed and I believe they felt at a rookies level he wouldn't be ready to start but now, they are actually seeing talent that they are not used to seeing.

    It's like the Kordell fans that thought he was so good and allow him this or that these young fans never really seen a good Steeler quarterback to know what you should expect from one.

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    Default Re: Changing of the guard, well, center

    t looks as though Roethlisberger might make his second start of the preseason at quarterback and Dennis Dixon will get his first chance to run the first team after him.

    "I intend to give Dennis Dixon some looks with the first group against some good people," Tomlin said. "I think he's earned that likewise. And that's what this preseason is all about."
    Very strange... very very strange.

    I assumed that with Ben out for the first 4 games, that Preseason Game 3 would continue to be used as it always is - as the last preseason tuneup for the starters. This means everyone you plan on having start in Game 1 starts in this game and work out some plays and get a little more fine tuned...

    Doesn't look like that is going to be the case this year. I thought Leftwich would get all of the reps with the first team offense and then Dixon finishes out the rest of the game. Preseason Game 4 I figured we would see Ben for a half, get him his work in before he serves his suspension
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    Default Re: Changing of the guard, well, center

    I really didn't think they would want to start a quarterback debate for preseason or the first four games of the new season but, they must see something or just trying to be fair. No matter what they do, there will always be fans that wanted it the other way around.

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    I just read a Wexell tweet saying he thinks Dixon is going to be used as a short yardage / goal line qb. Never heard of such a thing but sounds interesting.

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    Default Re: Changing of the guard, well, center

    Quote Originally Posted by Beezy View Post
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    I just read a Wexell tweet saying he thinks Dixon is going to be used as a short yardage / goal line qb. Never heard of such a thing but sounds interesting.

    the Steelers coaching staff was very upset with Leftwich's failed attempt to run a QB sneak from the 1 yard line against the Giants (i think another play had been called).

    Dixon could be very effective on rollouts from there, giving him a run or pass option.

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    Default Re: Changing of the guard, well, center

    Quote Originally Posted by Beezy View Post
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    I just read a Wexell tweet saying he thinks Dixon is going to be used as a short yardage / goal line qb. Never heard of such a thing but sounds interesting.
    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteeler View Post
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    the Steelers coaching staff was very upset with Leftwich's failed attempt to run a QB sneak from the 1 yard line against the Giants (i think another play had been called).

    Dixon could be very effective on rollouts from there, giving him a run or pass option.
    remember the last time we ran the Bruce Arians designed wildcat stuff at the goaline in 2007? Didn't last very long

    This makes some sense, since Dixon can run and Leftwich can't. Gives us another running back option and with Randel El in there, someone that can throw the ball Burnnnnnn
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