When Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers shared his thoughts on the season-ending injury to star WR Jordy Nelson, his words could have applied to Steelers injured center Maurkice Pouncey. "It's a 100-percent injury rate for every player," Rodgers said via The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal. "It's disappointing that you have injuries like this in the preseason. It's difficult to lose a guy like that in a meaningless game."
After Pouncey suffered a broken ankle in the same meaningless game Nelson shredded his ACL, the Steelers wasted no time coming up with a strategy to replace one of the best centers in the entire league. That plan involves recently-signed Doug Legursky and Cody Wallace.
A familiar name and face, Legursky is a plug-and-play player who can fill almost anywhere on the offensive line. As a backup to Wallace, he should also provide reassurance since he can play multiple positions along the interior offensive line. Signed as an UDFA in 2008 by the Steelers, Legursky was released, re-signed, released, and re-signed again in October after guard Kendall Simmons ended up on injured reserve. During the 2011 season, Legursky played at right guard, left guard, and center. His versatility has been one of his greatest strengths.
After he left the Steelers, Legursky played left guard for the Buffalo Bills and was responsible for 15 quarterback hurries during the course of the season. Last season with San Diego Chargers, he started in two only two games, this time at center. There he struggled in run blocking and was responsible for an uncharacteristic penalty in San Diego's week 4 game against Jacksonville. His season ended with a knee injury.
The other Steelers stop-gap measure is thirty-year old Cody Wallace, who has been in this position before, called on in 2013 to fill in for an injured Fernando Velasco who was replacing an injured Pouncey. Wallace was a fourth-round draft pick in 2008 out of Texas A & M and played for the San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans, and Tampa Bay before getting the call from the Steelers in 2013.
Wallace definitely brings a lot of energy and aggression to the game, famously fined in 2013 for an in-the-scrum infraction involving Miami Dolphins DT Randy Starks' groin area. More noteworthy, Wallace played well enough in his six starts at center, particularly when it came to run blocking. In 2014, Wallace filled in at left guard against the Panthers and Buccaneers. At left guard, he struggled.
Last time Pouncey was out with a significant injury, Mike Munchak was coaching with the Tennessee Titans. Now that Munchak is the offensive line coach with the Steelers, the unit has experienced a huge leap in terms of performance and cohesion. Both Wallace and Legursky will benefit from coach Munchak's experience and expertise. That, too, should somewhat mitigate the void felt by Pouncey's unfortunate injury.