The calendar has now flipped over to July and that means the Pittsburgh Steelers annual training camp will be getting underway in Latrobe later this month. As usual, we have several series planned to get you ready for this year’s training camp and mine will center around preview profiles of 50 players over the course of the next 25 days. Most of these profiles will be on players who were under contract with the team in 2016.
Up twelfth in this series is a 2017 preview profile of center Maurkice Pouncey.
Intro: The 2016 season was a great one for Pouncey from the shear fact that he was able to stay healthy for the most part. After missing the entire 2015 season, Pouncey returned in 2016 to play in 15 regular season games with his lone missed one being a result of him being rested for the playoffs in the finale. While Pouncey did suffer a thumb injury midway through the 2016 reguklar season, he didn’t miss a start because of it and he played well.
Current Strengths: Pouncey’s understanding of the offense and ability to decipher defensive fronts and communicate that to the rest of the offensive line pre-snap cannot be understated. Additionally, his athleticism is still intact after all these years and several injuries and it allows him to do a lot of things that other centers around the NFL can’t do when it comes to getting to the second level to make blocks or pull to either side of the offensive line. He allowed just 13 total quarterback pressures last season, according to Pro Football Focus, the fewest of all AFC North centers.
Current Weaknesses: As great of a center that Pouncey is, he still struggles at times with bigger defensive tackles when it comes to being able to move and turn them off the snap. It’s not a rampant and glaring problem, mind you, but is noticeable at times nonetheless. Nitpicking a bit more, he probably has a few more low shotgun snaps than you would like to see on a yearly basis.
2017 Outlook: Pouncey remains the heart of the Steelers offensive line and it has been very noticeable when he isn’t on the field and such was the case last year when he left the game against the Baltimore Ravens with his thumb injury. Assuming he can stay healthy again in 2017, Pouncey should be able to have another solid season for the Steelers as both a run blocker and pass protector.
2017 Base Salary: $7,500,000
2017 Salary Cap Charge: $11,051,000
2017 Health Status: No known ailments exiting offseason program
2016 Health Status: Zero games missed last season due to injury
2016 Regular Season Snaps Played: 959 of 1,083
2016 Stat That Matters: 13 quarterback pressures allowed
|Ben Roethlisberger||Cameron Heyward||Jesse James||James Harrison||Antonio Brown|
|Ryan Shazier||Le’Veon Bell||Mike Mitchell||Sammie Coates||Ross Cockrell|
|Ramon Foster||William Gay|