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Thread: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

      
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    Default A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations in Pittsburgh
    By Rick Brown
    THE LEDGER
    Published: Friday, September 24, 2010

    TAMPA | There are a few occasions when Maurkice Pouncey shows his age.

    [IMGL]http://i56.tinypic.com/2ngxx14.jpg[/IMGL]Sometimes his mind wonders when he's in the Pittsburgh Steelers' huddle and sees veteran receiver Hines Ward. Or when the center is about to snap the ball and the quarterback receiving it is Charlie Batch, Pouncey just shakes his head.

    "When I first saw Charlie, I was like, 'Hey, that's Charlie Batch,'" Pouncey said. "I used to watch him as a young kid."

    But those occasions when the rookie from Lakeland High School finds himself awestruck are few.

    In fact, Pouncey has played with the poise of a veteran. That's why it will be his job to protect Batch on Sunday when the Steelers travel to Tampa to take on the Bucs.

    He's expecting a small contingent of about 12 family and friends to be at the game.

    "That's going to be crazy," said the 21-year-old Pouncey, who grew up a Buccaneer fan. "Every time I think about it, it's a great feeling. I'm going to be back home in Florida. It's going to be nice to get back to hot weather, real hot weather."

    Pouncey, who was selected with the 18th overal pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, is the first center ever picked by the Steelers in the first round. He's also the Steelers' first rookie starting center since the 1960s.

    The Steelers had every intention of bringing Pouncey along slowly, wanting him to work at both guard and center and get spot duty his rookie season.

    But Pouncey had other plans. He engulfed himself in the playbook, studying day and night, whenever he could. Then he had a brilliant training camp that forced the Steelers to put him on the field.

    "The reason he's in there is, quite frankly, he's not playing like a rookie," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. "He's really exceeded our expectations in terms of his development within the system - the responsibilities of playing center in terms of identifying fronts and so forth. He's really mature beyond his years in that way and that's why he's been given the opportunity.

    "Now once given the opportunity, of course, he's proven he's a quality player, a unique talent." Tomlin said. "He's going to be a really good player. Of course he's not a finished product as we sit here today, but we're very excited and enthused about where he is."

    Tampa Bay center Jeff Faine followed a similar path as Pouncey. He was a first-round pick out of Notre Dame and started his rookie year.

    "Beyond the quarterback, it's the hardest position to start at as a rookie in the NFL," said Faine, who is entering his eighth year in the league. "It's competitively challenging. You're dealing not only with the physical aspect of it, but also the mental aspect of it at the same time."

    Even Pouncey cannot believe how his journey to the NFL has gone.

    When he left Lakeland to go to Florida, Pouncey was one of the nation's top prospects at offensive guard.

    He was just the seventh true freshman to start a season opener for the Gators.

    During his freshman season with the Gators, he started 11 games at right guard and graded no lower than 83 percent for blocking consistency in any of his starting assignments. For that, he was named Freshman All-American by College Football News and Rivals.com.

    But at the beginning of his sophomore year, the Gators asked him to move to center.

    "I was hesitant about it," he admitted. "I was coming off a good freshman season. But I did it, and it was the best move I did in my life."

    He played and started the next 28 games for Florida. By the end of his junior year, Pouncey was an All-American and became the first Gator to win the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation's best center.

    He declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season. Now, he'll enter Raymond James Stadium leading the Pittsburgh offense on Sunday.

    "Playing for Florida was great," Pouncey said. "But now, you're at the level you wanted to be at your whole life. It's crazy. When you come through that tunnel and see all fans, screaming your name and waving those terrible towels, it gives you confidence at what you do. This is great."

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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    I absolutely loved the pick then, thinking he had what it took to start his rookie year, and now and just amazed at how good he really is. I thought he would be "serviceable" but I never thought he would be this good, this fast.

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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoreKeeper View Post
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    I absolutely loved the pick then, thinking he had what it took to start his rookie year, and now and just amazed at how good he really is. I thought he would be "serviceable" but I never thought he would be this good, this fast.
    I'm really hoping that he is the next "Webster" or "Dawson"... Time will tell...
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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    I'm delighted they held out for a real talent at C rather than take the best of what was available at the time eg. Alex Mack.

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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    Seems like the right pick that the team has found. As he will be good for years to come. If he keeps at it.
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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by JPPT1974 View Post
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    Seems like the right pick that the team has found. As he will be good for years to come. If he keeps at it.
    ... Now we need to add more quality picks and re-build our line to what it used to be...
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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    But Kinsar said just last week Pouncey was overrated....Now I am so conflicted....
    what to believe.....
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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by bdeff View Post
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    But Kinsar said just last week Pouncey was overrated....Now I am so conflicted....
    what to believe.....
    Remember, suppressing rage is unhealthy!

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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by bdeff View Post
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    But Kinsar said just last week Pouncey was overrated....
    Consider the source, and eat some bbq....
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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by bdeff View Post
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    But Kinsar said just last week Pouncey was overrated....Now I am so conflicted....
    what to believe.....
    The truth would be a good start.

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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    NKY beat me to it.

    I love Pouncey, but the Steelers waited two years too long to address their OL needs.

    They will need a n OT and OG out of next year's draft or available FAs.

    If this year's rookies (including those on the PS) play throughout the season as well as they've looked so far, the Steelers can concentarte on OL and use their first two picks there.

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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    Imma **** some here off...but this pick to me is almost "too little too late" I really think the Steelers only have a couple years at most with this core group of guys and they have left the OL become decrepit...its sad b/c Pouncey is a good player...it just seems like too little.
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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by War Machine View Post
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    Remember, suppressing rage is unhealthy!


    LOL, great point War Machine!
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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    Imma **** some here off...but this pick to me is almost "too little too late" I really think the Steelers only have a couple years at most with this core group of guys and they have left the OL become decrepit...its sad b/c Pouncey is a good player...it just seems like too little.
    So, let me see, you can't be happy about the way Pouncy is playing... because the fact the Steelers waited too long to take someone for the OL?

    Ya... I can see that logic

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    Default Re: A Rare Find: Pouncey Is Exceeding Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    Imma **** some here off...but this pick to me is almost "too little too late" I really think the Steelers only have a couple years at most with this core group of guys and they have left the OL become decrepit...its sad b/c Pouncey is a good player...it just seems like too little.
    Huh? Yeah, we've been horrible on the o-line so lets just say **** it and not try to improve it. I mean we've become used to going 6-10, 7-9 during the past 5 seasons that....wait, what is that....we have 2 more rings....we have....no way man....the O-line has been average at best so why try to rebuild it....we can be the lions and draft WR's for the next 10 ****ing years.

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