Big Lead Sports Bar


Enter the Maurkice Pouncey Era

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."
But with good news comes bad news, and that is aimed in the direction of Justin Hartwig, who is not taking his demotion well. Practicing exclusively with the second-team on Wednesday, Hartwig refused to answer questions after practice, a good sign that he is pretty ticked about the move.
With a salary due of more than $2 million in 2010, I'd place Hartwig squarely on the bubble as camp continues; I know the Steelers appreciate an able body with versatility, but if Hartwig doesn't want to be here, giving him $2 mil to mope in a role he doesn't accept isn't helping anything except his bank account.

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):

1 comment:

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

Wow, high praise from Big Snack! If Snack is impressed, then i'm impressed!!!

Maybe we can trade Hartwig for a 6th or 7th round draft pick? He seems like too good of a player to let go for nothing, but with the low price tag 'tone left town with... maybe the market isn't there to get anything for a good/average center? ALSO, Hartwig can't play RG better than Essex?