The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of a three-game losing streak and longtime center Maurkice Pouncey is sick of the criticism he and his teammates are receiving.
During his session with the media on Christmas Eve, Pouncey opined that doing the little things right ought to be enough to solve the team’s woes on offense.
“I just think it’s small details throughout the game,” Pouncey said. “The other team has been getting up on us and we haven’t been able to come back. Obviously, I know that we should be playing a lot better, and I think we’re really focusing in on this week.”
Maurkice Pouncey: ‘I Understand Some Things About Football’
But then the former first-round draft pick fell back on a line of thinking he often turns to in the face of criticism.
“I think in the game of football, people get it confused, man, it’s all the flow of the game. You gotta convert third downs, you gotta be able to do everything. It’s not just being one dimensional and things. I think me being here a long time, I think I realize that, and I understand some things about football.”
The implication is: You don’t know anything near as much about football as I do, so quit criticizing.
It was the same response he had this past spring, when Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus described him as “the most overrated offensive lineman of his generation,” not to mention the quintessential center for a hypothetical “NFL All-Average Team,” which would also include Steelers strong safety Terrell Edmunds.
Pouncey fired back at Monson on Twitter, referring to him as a “fake analyst,” adding, “Did you play football Mr Guru?”
Maurkice Pouncey Invokes the Name of Booger McFarland, Again
It’s also what prompted Pouncey to try to get the last word on Booger McFarland’s accusation that the Steelers offensive line is “soft”, a criticism that McFarland leveled at Pouncey & Co. on ESPN on December 13th.
Never mind that Pouncey already responded to McFarland on Instagram, taking a shot at the quality of his announcing work in the process: “Booger, these quotes are the same reason why you are not on Monday Night Football anymore,” he wrote, adding the hashtag ‘Make Commenting Great Again.’
On Thursday, Pouncey brought up McFarland’s criticism once more—without being prompted—so you know it’s eating at him, even though Pouncey insisted “he got a good laugh out of it” when he heard McFarland’s critique. “Hopefully we’ll get a couple of wins and everyone will shut up,” he said.
He also promised that things will get better for the Steelers offense, though he couldn’t say when:
“We’ll figure things out so you guys can write something good for once,” he concluded, perhaps having heard whispers of criticism about him receiving Pro Bowl honors.
Yet Pouncey did note that he is thankful to be playing football in 2020—and thankful to be playing again after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, which forced him to miss two starts.
“That was terrible,” said Pouncey, via Steelers.com. “I am the ultimate competitor. I want to be out there every single play. But the rules are the rules. The protocols are the protocols. I am done even thinking about that part.”
But he admits he was “aggravated” by what happened. “I didn’t have one symptom,” he said. “At this point there is no point in complaining. We are just blessed to be out there playing. If you want to complain about it, you should have opted out.”
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