Today is a good news/bad news day: good news for Maurkice Pouncey, bad news for Justin Hartwig.
The gifted rookie practiced with the Steelers' first-team on Wednesday and took every snap, leading one to conclude that he will be the team's opening-day center and the first Steeler rookie starter since Heath Miller in 2005.
Pouncey will start Saturday night at Denver, slugging it out with always-tough Broncos nose guard Jamal Williams, and that should be an interesting gauge on where he stands. But from all reports, Pouncey is absolutely ready for prime time. Said Casey Hampton of his new teammate:
"A lot of centers you play against are either quick and weak or they're strong and not quick. He's got both. He's quick and he's really strong. He recovers real well. He does a good job staying on his feet. I think he's going to be a good player."
Pouncey is so quick, his defensive teammates say, that he can make an early mistake and recover to make the block.
"With a center, man, you can't teach that," Hampton said. "If you got that, it helps a whole lot. That's the downfall of a lot of centers, getting beat quick, because guys are so close on you. But he's so athletic, he recovers and stays on his feet. That's the other thing about him, he's hardly ever on the ground."
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