After the Pittsburgh Steelers hired Jack Bicknell Jr. to be their new offensive line coach during the offseason, it didn\’t take long to figure out that we would be seeing a lot more of zone blocking scheme in 2013.
One offensive lineman who should benefit from more of that scheme is center Maurkice Pouncey and David Todd of ESPN 970 Radio had a chance to talk briefly with him about it following the Steelers Tuesday OTA practice.
Pouncey, who said on Tuesday that he is currently feeling better than he has felt in years, was asked if it was easy for him to pick up the zone scheme entering his fourth year in the league.
“I think it\’s easy for me and especially the older guys that we got,” said Pouncey. “We all are trying to win around here and going 8-8 last year sticks on us really, really hard. I think it brings a lot of good things to the offensive line, and I think we need it.”
Since being selected in the first round of the 2010 draft out of Florida, Pouncey and the Steelers have been primarily a power running team that has mostly utilized man blocking with some zone mixed in every now and again. Now that the team is expected to run a lot of outside zone moving forward, Pouncey was asked whether or not we\’ll still see some of the traditional power concepts in 2013.
“Yeah, we\’re still going to do a little of the power stuff, but I think outside zone now in the NFL is what\’s really working and getting guys running on the move and cutting them down is kind of the easiest thing to do right now,” said Pouncey.
A few weeks ago, Pouncey said in an interview on Sirius XM Radio that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had asked him early in the offseason to become more of a leader in 2013, and he talked about that new role more on Tuesday.
“I love the role,” said Pouncey. “It\’s positive for me. I think that it\’s my time, especially after all the older guys that left kind of taught me ropes. But you know; all the guys look up to me, and I really appreciate that.”
It\’s hard to believe that Pouncey will only turn 24 years of age in July and with three Pro Bowl selections already underneath his belt, a fourth should be easily attainable with him expected to be on the move more in 2013. Pouncey is one of the most athletic centers in the league and that should result in him cutting down a lot of defenders, which in turn should result in a much-improved Steelers running game.