Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey Thinks Outside Zone Will Work Well In Pittsburgh

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.

  • dgh57

    I think when you add DeCastro into the mix it gets even BETTER!!!!

  • Ahmad

    Man I can’t wait until the preseason to see it in action. Oh and with the OL running the outside zone, that’s extra practice for the defense in defending against it so that’s another positive.

  • charles

    I have to admit disappointment and a little confusion. It seems that Mendenhall’s running style would have fit this cut back mentality of the zone scheme really well. It seems that we have installed a blocking scheme that needs a back with Tony Dorsett acceleration, yet all our backs seem to be powerful but not quick accelerators.?!? Further the tape that I saw of Bell showed zero explosive speed. He outran nobody in college and we know that the NFL is much faster.

  • I think they’re going to cut the shit out of Tennessee in the opener trying to establish an intimidation factor. Think back to the Baltimore opener.

  • SteelersDepot

    Shuussshhh. don’t tell 4.58 Arian Foster that.

  • Steelhawk55

    “Pouncey is one of the most athletic *linemen(not just centers) in the league…” Fixed your typo for ya Dave. 😛

  • Bradys_Dad

    I too wish we would have held on to Mendy.

  • r4kolb

    Enjoy Pouncey while we have him. You know when his contract is up we won’t sign him to the kind of money someone else will. Yet another great draft pick walking. The Steelers are like a farm system to other teams.

  • steeltown


  • steeltown

    Honestly, I think Bell and Dwyer both will excel with this new scheme. They may be bigger backs, but they are shifty power backs

  • steeltown

    I see them giving him a contract extension next offseason, before he becomes an UFA in 2015… in fact, I think he is priority one, in front of Heath Miller and Cortez Allen

  • r4kolb

    Problem is you know his agent knows he will get overpaid elsewhere. I hope your right but you know as well as I do the Burgh don’t overpay anyone.

  • r4kolb

    Dave…you did not just compare Bell to Arian Foster did you? WOW!!!! You need to put that out on your next podcast.

  • SteelersDepot

    Where did I compare him? The notion that backs have to run 4.4 in NFL in order to be succesful is a tired one. Any other questions?

  • r4kolb

    Easy Dave…I was just trying to be like the media and twist something out of context. I was joking Dave.

  • Michael Pearce

    Can you imagine the contract Pouncy is gonna command after 4 pro bowls in his first 4 seasons? He and Ben are gonna be very costly.

  • Steve

    The average longevity of a back in the NFL (Not For Long) is 2-5 years. Mendy’s better days were behind him and his BIG problem was holding onto the ball. You don’t hold a ball like a loaf of bread as Mendy did and make your coach happy. His attitude of missing the game last year was costly also and got him into the dog house with Tomlin.

  • Steve

    The Steeler keep their own when they excel year after year. (Ben, Miller, Troy, Bettis, Hines)

  • PA2AK

    The zone blocking scheme certainly doesn’t require a speed back. In fact, with a powerful RB that has quick feet while making the right choice on when to follow or cutback…the zone is almost perfect. Remember, the run game is about positive yards…not home-runs. Bell has plenty of speed for his size and great footwork. Dwyer (if he gets down to the weight he is planning) is also another great fit for a zone scheme. Old JB would have been good behind a zone scheme as well. Could you imagine all 260lbs. of him cutting back on an unexpecting LB? Great feet & good reads are key from the RB.

  • steeltown


  • charles

    We are not talking 40 yd dash.. Acceleration is how fast you get to full speed. Dorsett was a standard and certainly acceleragtion is a huge benefit to Peterson and Charles. It is a good point to include Foster and Lynch though, neither of whom have speed or acceleration. Still, the zone blocking scheme seems to point to cutback and acceleration and Mendy had those attributes probably to a fault.

  • charles

    Give him Woodley’s money if Lamar does not have a pro bowl year.