This past offseason the Pittsburgh Steelers awarded Maurkice Pouncey a new contract, keeping him in Pittsburgh for the foreseeable future. Fans rejoiced over the fact their veteran center will likely remain a member of the Steelers for the duration of his career.
However, throughout the 2019 season there has been a recurring theme from Pouncey, and those were his inaccurate snaps. There have been a few notable gaffes throughout 2019 where Pouncey’s snaps have led to issues with the play which was called.
We all remember the snap which sailed over Mason Rudolph’s head vs. the Los Angeles Rams, giving them an early scoop-and-score touchdown. On Sunday night a low snap to James Conner in the Wildcat formation threw off the entire play and resulted in a Diontae Johnson fumble.
So, what is the deal with Pouncey’s snaps? According to Mike Tomlin the answer is nothing, and that these issues are nothing new:
“Pouncey has always had a couple low snaps.” Tomlin said at his weekly press conference Tuesday. “You guys never ask about them because Ben [Roethlisberger] would one hand them and go about his business. But Ben isn’t playing quarterback, so it has become more of a story. We have to minimize some of that negativity. He is a part of that, but also the guys on the other end of it to minimize it is a part of it as well. I kid you not, he has always been capable of a low snap or two, but Ben’s hands are so good and so fluid that you don’t really think about it.”
I can’t speak for everyone reading this article, but when I heard this answer my only response was, “Really?” I understand you don’t want to throw players under the bus, but, to me, this is almost the same as suggesting Chris Boswell missed kicks in 2018 because “some kickers miss a lot of game-changing kicks”.
Pouncey was selected to the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl for the 8th time in his career, and was selected as a starter for the AFC. But this raised some serious eyebrows for the folks at Pro Football Focus (PFF).
36 Centers have a higher grade than Pro Bowl C Maurkice Pouncey. There are 32 NFL teams. pic.twitter.com/h5Ztny6NrL— PFF (@PFF) December 18, 2019
Say what you want about PFF’s overall grading policies, but this is a pretty eye-opening statistic for a company who watches a lot of film on a weekly basis.
I am not suggesting Pouncey’s game is falling apart, but I am also not here to think everything is sunshine and rainbows either. Pouncey, like the entire 2019 Steelers offense, has a lot of room to improve. Throw in the fact Pouncey is sending snaps to a rookie quarterback and the last thing anyone should be worrying about is if the snap will be a good one or not.
Tomlin shrugged off the issue with relative ease, but fans have been talking about this throughout the season. Some have taken it to the point of suggesting Pouncey could be a cap casualty next season for B.J. Finney to take over as the starting center.
I’m not ready to go there, not yet anyway.
Pouncey and the offense can make a lot of these bumps in the road disappear by winning their final two games and punching their ticket to the AFC Playoffs. Let’s just hope Pouncey’s play isn’t a talking point for the duration of this season.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare to travel and play the New York Jets in Week 16.