Call him a little biased but ex-center turned ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday believes the best player on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense rests along their line. That player, naturally, is center Maurkice Pouncey.
“This guy jumps off the tape,” Saturday said on today’s edition of NFL Live. “He literally could be in the argument of the best player on this offense. When he is healthy, he is that dynamic of a center and as a player.”
Pouncey became the topic on the show after yesterday’s ESPN reports of Pouncey admitting he had seven surgeries to repair a broke fibula and the complications from the surgery. They included six procedures and a skin graft.
Just as many Steelers’ fans do, Saturday recognized the impact Mike Munchak has on this unit.
“With Mike Munchak at the helm as offensive line coach with these guys, this is where it all begins.”
You wouldn’t expect an outsider to realize it but credit should also be given to Shaun Sarrett and now, the addition of Alan Faneca. Faneca will be with the team through at least training camp. It’s a tremendous trio to learn from.
Saturday referred to Pouncey as “instrumental,” and while he’s certainly an important piece who makes the team so much better, that word may be a stretch. The Steelers still thrived without him last year, nearly making the AFC Title Game, and went to a Super Bowl back in 2010. Pouncey is great but not on the shortlist of truly irreplaceable pieces like Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown.
Regardless, it’ll be great to see a healthy and motivated #53 back in the lineup. 2015 might have been the hardest year ever on him. Saturday, a man who played 14 seasons, even noted he never had that many surgeries in a year. In Pittsburgh, so far, so good, with Pouncey a full participant during the team’s spring sessions.
Expect him to be limited in training camp though. He could be rested every other day, just as we’ve seen with some of the veterans. Pouncey might not appreciate that in the moment but long-term, it’s in his best interests.