I’ve been pretty hard on Maurkice Pouncey for a good number of reasons but one thing I can never deny is that he is the most athletic guy on the offensive line and is probably the most athletic center in all of football. Right before the end of the first quarter in Sunday’s win over Jacksonville, Pouncey’s athleticism was on display.
Le’Veon Bell broke free for 29 yards on a very well-executed play by the hogs up front.
In the picture above, you’ll note the Steelers are in the shotgun with Bell to Ben Roethlisberger’s left. This is referred to as ’11’ personnel meaning one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers being deployed. The Jags have four down linemen and the key guy is in the gap between Pouncey and guard David DeCastro.
Both men will communicate to determine who is pulling and who is staying. Obviously, Pouncey will pull to this right while DeCastro blocks down.
In picture 2 above, Pouncey has come around the corner and has Jags linebacker Paul Posluzny in his sights while DeCastro and tackle Marcus Gilbert have created a wall to the top along with Ramon Foster who has his man turned away from the lane.
With a natural wall already sealing the defenders at the top in picture 3, Pouncey gets a good initial fit on Posluzny allowing Bell to get through the hole untouched.
While Posluzny will use his own athletic ability to get away from Pouncey, it’s too late as Bell is already on his way to the right sideline for a key 29-yard run.
The thing to remember here with Pouncey is that he is a center. There was a time in the game of football where a center NEVER pulled. Pouncey is doing this routinely and also is doing it here out of a shotgun snap which can sometimes be more difficult.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on game day on the Trib-Live Radio Steelers Pre-Game
photo courtesy tireball.com