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Thread: The Big Legursky

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    Default The Big Legursky

    by Craig Wolfley on February 2, 2011

    Maurkice Pouncey is off the crutches and hoofing around the hotel in a ski-boot like contraption to support his ankle. Whether he will or wont lock n load on Super Bowl sunday is still officially up in the air. But i believe that the center position is in good hands if Pouncey cant go and i give you three words why.

    The Big Legursky.

    If Maurkice Pouncey wasnt Maurkice Pouncey (A Pro Bowl and All-Pro center in his first year), then Doug Legursky would be the starting center of the Pittsburgh Steelers and most likely Maurkice would be lining up next to Doug at guard (the original plan if you remember). Doug could start for other teams in this league. He is the equivalent of Chris Hoke playing behind Casey Hampton.

    I know Bronko Legursky is not as athletic and able to track down and dominate second tier linebackers like Maurkice, but he brings his own particular skill set to the big shooting match (this isnt CNN and remember, we are in Texas).

    Though not as athletically gifted as Maurkice, Doug played goalline FB and TE as well as guard and of course center. Remember that Doug was chosen to play those positions because he demonstrated the quicks to make the physical adjustments required of TEs and banging FBs. That takes athleticism.

    Bronko is smart, knows the offense better than Maurkice, and directs traffic very well. In the blitz-happy defensive schemes of Dom Capers, he is well-versed in anti-sack schematics.

    Doug is a very powerful dude who plays well in keeping positive levels with both guards on pass pro. Meaning he stays on the same plane giving very little in allowing the opponent to hit gaps between them. His strength is also very noticeable when a NT tries to bull rush and drive him back to create penetration for others. He gives very little ground in that department.

    Doug plays with a low pad level and with his great hamhock strength and sporting shoulders that you normally find on one of the rodeo bulls that bust up cowboys down here in Fort Worth, he is a tough hombre in his own right when it comes to roadgrading on run blocking. Doug likes to throw guys down and gore them like Donald Trump likes to fire people.

    Yes i know people are screaming platitudes about BJ Raji, the huge NT of the Packers. Yes, he is a very good player. Yes he will be a handfull. But i am confident that Legursky can match up with Raji.

    Dont forget, for the last 2 years Bronko has been the practice squad center. For the last 2 years, week in and week out, training camp in and training camp out, Bronko has been playing against Casey Hampton and holding his own. Big Snack is a pretty good player in his own right.

    No doubt the preference would be to have a healthy Maurkice Pouncey take the center position come kickoff. But the snappers position is in good hands if hes not.

    "When you start talking about attitude and focus, Jack is the epitome. He was the most focused individual I've ever had."-- Chuck Noll

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    Default Re: The Big Legursky

    Doug Legursky will be the Dude...

    This movie is in my top 3 all time favorite movies.
    Last edited by Skeeter; Feb-04-2011 at 05:37 PM.

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    Default Re: The Big Legursky

    Legursky is one of the least of my concerns. He should be fine. Maybe not great but good enough, IMO.

    I'm more concerned about the Packers offense and how effective Ben will be against the Packers secondary.

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    Default Re: The Big Legursky

    Kugler used to shuffling offensive lines

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    Sean Kugler
    Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

    Winds of change

    The Steelers have had six different starting offensive line combinations but even more when considering in-game injuries. Here are five linemen have played at least three different positions this season during a game:

    Doug Legursky LG, C, RG, TE, FB

    Trai Essex LT, LG, RG, RT

    Ramon Foster LG, RG, RT

    Jonathan Scott LT, LG, RT

    Tony Hills RT, RG, LT

    DALLAS It was the first day of minicamp, and new Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler gathered his unit to state his expectations.

    "He said no matter who is in there, we are getting the job done," Doug Legursky said.

    Almost 10 months later, Kugler's words still are ringing true.

    "I don't know if he had a Magic 8 Ball or what, but he was spot-on," backup tackle Tony Hills said.

    Kugler has had to manage six different starting combinations this season and is dealing with the loss of starting center Maurkice Pouncey, whom coach Mike Tomlin officially ruled out of Super Bowl XLV against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. What's more, five linemen have played three or more positions during a game this season.

    But Kugler pulled on a recent and painful experience in Buffalo that ultimately cost him his job there to help his unit in Pittsburgh.

    Last year, Kugler lost three starters and five linemen overall to injured reserve, was forced to field six tackle tandems and nine line combinations, twice signed players and was forced to start them four days later, and once even had to dress an injured player as the sixth linemen in case of an emergency.

    "You probably never expect to go through a thing like that twice," Kugler said. "Unfortunately that happened for us this year."

    Both Steelers starting tackles were placed on injured reserve Willie Colon in the spring and Max Starks midway through the season. Starting guard Trai Essex was injured in Week 2; Flozell Adams battled dehydration issues, sicknesses and knee problems; and Chris Kemoeatu missed time with a knee injury.

    And now there's Pouncey, whose high ankle sprain against the New York Jets in the AFC title game has sidelined him for Sunday.

    Still, the patchwork line has fared better than last year's unit, paving the way for eight more rushing yards per game while allowing nine fewer total sacks. A lot of that success is attributed to how Kugler set the tone early in the season.

    "We knew that we were going to only dress seven on game days," Kugler said. "Everybody had to be position flexible and had to be able to step up because of an injury. It's been a wild ride."

    It started when Colon and rookie draft pick Chris Scott were hurt during the spring, followed by a Week 1 injury to Starks.

    Kugler had to shuffle players at different positions nearly every series because of dehydration issues during the second half of a Week 2 game at a hot, humid LP Field in Tennessee.

    "That's unheard of, and hopefully that never happens again," Kugler said.

    The Steelers won the game and ran for more than 100 yards despite the hodgepodge unit Kugler was forced to employ.

    "He just knows how to deal with it and adjust accordingly," said Essex, who left the Titans game with an ankle injury. "That's how it has been all season long."

    A few weeks later in Cincinnati, the line was so decimated that tight end Matt Spaeth was the next man in line to play if anyone else went down.

    "It's all about resiliency," tackle Jonathan Scott said.

    Kugler's approach has worked and is a reason the Steelers are in the Super Bowl.

    When the Steelers gathered for their first minicamp session in April, the starting line was Starks, Kemoeatu, Justin Hartwig, Essex and Colon.

    The line that will start in Super Bowl XLV includes a fifth-round pick (Scott), sixth-rounder (Kemoeatu), two undrafted free agents (Legursky and Ramon Foster) and a 13-year veteran (Adams) who is in the first year with the Steelers.

    "They embrace our motto that 'The standard is the standard,'" Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "Guys have stepped up and proved that they are capable of being reasons why we win."

    Read more: Kugler used to shuffling offensive lines - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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    Default Re: The Big Legursky

    Legursky is going to more than hold his own. Everybody and their brother is worried over nothing and I am going to say that Raji won't be a factor in this game. A fat guy returns a BAD throw, that Stevie Wonder coulda caught, for a TD, and suddenly he is a force of nature. BJ will be to busy with The Big Legursky to be effective.
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    Default Re: The Big Legursky

    Pay No Attention to BJ Raji-Doug Legursky Matchup Hype

    By J.J. Cooper

    At his best, B.J. Raji is a rocket-powered bowling ball, bouncing off offensive linemen and running over quarterbacks and running backs with remarkable agility for a 340-plus pounder.

    At his best, Doug Legursky is a solid backup offensive lineman with the versatility to play center and guard. Unfortunately for Legursky, he doesn't have Raji's size or strength or long arms. More importantly, he doesn't have Steelers' starting center Maurkice Pouncey's size, strength or arm length.

    So with Pouncey questionable for Sunday's Super Bowl (despite his protestations), this would appear to be a prescription for Steelers disaster -- one of the NFL's best nose tackles facing a center who will be in over his head. It's become one of the main themes of this week's Super Bowl coverage.

    It's a logical storyline, one that makes sense to everyone. But here's the thing: it's not really accurate.

    The Steelers may have all kind of trouble blocking Raji -- he is a very disruptive force. But it's more likely that he'll be causing guards Ramon Foster and Chris Kemoeatu, and even tackles Flozell Adams and Jonathan Scott, more problems than Legursky. Raji may be listed as a nose tackle, but unless the Packers change things up, he won't spend much time lining up heads-up on the Steelers' center.

    In charting every snap of the Packers-Bears NFC championship game, as well as significant amounts of Green Bay's playoff games against the Falcons and Eagles, what was apparent is that Raji moves around a lot, but he's very rarely lined up as a traditional nose tackle.

    Raji has amazing stamina for a big man. In the Bears' game, Raji was on the field for 61 of 65 snaps. But on only 11 of those was he lined up heads-up on the center. Even that doesn't tell the full story. Because of how the Bears blocked and how Raji fired off, Chicago center Olin Kreutz was only responsible for blocking Raji on seven plays.

    The story was somewhat similar in the Eagles and Falcons games. Philadelphia had to make do with backup Mike McGlynn at center, but Green Bay didn't change things up to try to take advantage of him. Raji still lined up predominantly in the A-gap. Against the Falcons, the Packers did sometimes line up with a jumbo defensive line (consisting of three 330-plus pounders) lined up over the two guards and the center, but that was more of a gimmick defense when the Falcons went to two tight ends than a standard approach.

    Raji's game is built more around a quick first step than controlling a lineman with strength. Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton generally lines up heads-up on the center or slanted in the A-gap (between the center and guard) at times. But at the snap, he's looking to use his strength to drive the center (or sometimes the guard) backwards. Another of his major jobs is to occupy blockers to let the Steelers' inside linebackers remain unblocked.

    In the Packers' 3-4, Raji is generally looking to shoot the gap between the center and the guard. So when he is playing nose tackle, Raji usually lines up with his head in the A-gap instead of directly opposite the center. Against the Bears, that led to him most often being blocked by guards Roberto Garza and Chris Williams. Raji dominated Williams all game, but he very rarely ended up against Kreutz.

    That's very good news for the Steelers, as Legursky's mobility serves him well in getting angle blocks and blocking linebackers downfield. Because of his short arms, he's in much more trouble when he's asked to block a nose tackle in a confined space -- something that gave him repeated problems against the Jets. Green Bay could change things up on Sunday to take advantage of Legursky's weaknesses, but it would also be asking Raji to go away from what has made him so successful throughout the playoffs.

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