For the Steelers, their center isn't just another offensive lineman.
After right guard David DeCastro took out center Maurkice Pouncey's knee during the 8th snap of the season, Pouncey missed the entire 2013-2014 season. While Fernando Velasco and Cody Wallace filled in quite well for the former Florida Gator, there is nothing like having Pouncey manning the center position.
He is the ultimate leader. He is a great guy. Any time he is out there on the field he is the general. He controls the snap. His intensity and leadership provides a spark for the team, not just the offensive line, but the quarterback, receivers and running backs. He sparks the whole team.
Headed into his fifth season, Pouncey has had his fair share of accolades. He is a three time Pro Bowler, a three time All-Pro, he was named Steelers rookie of the year in 2010 and he was named team captain in 2013.
Following two 8-8 seasons, the Steelers need Pouncey to continue to provide that spark. And even with the high level of play that he has shown early in his career, new offensive line coach Mike Munchak could take the play of his center to another level.
Next offseason, Pouncey's rookie contract will be up. For the Steelers sake, they will need to lock him up soon if they want to keep him off the open market in which All-Pro centers get paid quite well.
As the team heads into the "war" of the 2014 season, they need their "general" Pouncey to continue to lead with intensity as the Steelers try to avoid another post-seasonless season.