Now that training camp is underway, and the roster for the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: C Maurkice Pouncey
Stock Value: Up
The injury front has gotten a lot better as the week has progressed. Outside of fullback Roosevelt Nix, who sounds as though he could miss multiple weeks—which will be a much bigger blow on special teams than on offense based on the total lack of usage of the fullback in the opener—everybody at least has a chance to play.
And short of Joe Haden, it appears that everybody is more likely than not to take the field. Haden is dealing with a shoulder injury. He got through an entire practice yesterday, but could still be a game-time decision, because it’s not necessarily an injury you want to play through.
Others who left the game on Sunday were JuJu Smith-Schuster and T.J. Watt. Both of them were back to full participation in practice by Thursday. Center Maurkice Pouncey joined them at the end of that game injured on the sidelines, but was also able to return to full participation by yesterday.
While he is technically listed as questionable to play (remember, there is, for no good reason, no longer a ‘probable’ designation), Pouncey himself confirmed that he will play, even saying that he feels really good and that you want to play after a loss like the one the Steelers were dealt this week.
Since his most recent significant injury a handful of years ago, Pouncey has actually experienced the healthiest stint of his career, not missing many snaps due to injury, and always able to return by the next game if he did have to leave the field. It looks like he’ll be keeping that streak alive.
While his backup, B.J. Finney, is more than capable (provided that he knows the snap count in case he’s at center), having Pouncey under center always brings another element to the game with the ability to get him on the move, out on the edge, to the second level, etc., as a blocker that you can’t ask many other centers to do consistently around the league. And you certainly want to have as many hands on deck as possible against the Seahawks’ defensive front.