It didn't take Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey to make some clear assertions towards one of his teammates in 2015. In all actuality, he hadn't even walked into the dorm rooms at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA before being swarmed by media and peppered with questions. The answers provided were standard issue, until asked about second year RB/WR/KR Dri Archer and the expectations for the season.
Not so subtle challenge from Pouncey to second year specialist Dri Archer to step up. "We need to get past the 15 on kickoff returns."— Ray Fittipaldo (@rayfitt1) July 25, 2015
Pouncey's remarks might seem harsh, but he isn't only speaking to Archer as a return man, but to the entire return unit which under performed in 2014. Last season, the Steelers' return team ranked 25th in the league in terms of kickoff return yardage, and a return brought passed the 30 yard line was a cause for celebration.
Maurkice Pouncey is a leader on this team, and has staked his claim as one of the best centers in the NFL. His comments are not meant to cut down Archer, but to motivate others to improve. He could have learned this very method from his head coach who has mastered public criticism as a form of motivation.
The Steelers drafted Archer not only for his blazing speed, but also for his ability to flip the field in the special teams arena. Needless to say, the opposite happened in 2014 as Archer was eventually taken off the field on kickoffs and replaced by Markus Wheaton.
Pouncey continued in his statement how he is excited to see Archer improve this season, and Steelers fans around the globe would agree with Pouncey in his assessment and goals for the second year speedster.