Pittsburgh Steelers: Injuries Could Make Steelers Vulnerable Against the Pack
Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey is out of the Super Bowl after badly spraining his ankle in the AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets. Optimism arose that Pouncey, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl this season at the end of his rookie professional campaign, might be able to get healthy in time for today's big game.
Instead, though, Pouncey's high ankle sprain didn't progress far enough for him to suit up, and he was declared officially out by Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on Friday. So the Steelers will be missing one of the anchors of their offensive line, a key cog in their offensive machine that they lean on to push forward and open holes for bruising rusher Rashard Mendenhall.
Enter Doug Legursky. Who, you might ask? Well Doug Legursky will be replacing Maurkice Pouncey in the starting lineup at center for the Steelers, and he'll have his work cut out for him in both filling a Pro Bowler's shoes and trying to keep his quarterback upright come gametime.
Ben Roethlisberger is tough enough to shrug off some pressure, but he still needs to have enough time to make decisions and operate in the pocket. The absence of Pouncey could make it tricky for Big Ben to set his feet and get throws off, as it's sure to entice Clay Matthews, B.J. Raji and company to try and flood the middle of the offensive line with pressure.
Blocking the A gap is paramount for Pittsburgh today, and Legursky will no doubt have to be on his game if he's going to get the job done, along with Pittsburgh's two starting guards. The Steelers will have had ample time to try and prepare for what the Packers are going to try and do defensively.
Also, Dom Capers, Packers defensive coordinator, is similar in style to the Steelers' DC Dick LeBeau, so the Steelers' offense should be able to pick up a few tips and things to key in on to try and be ready for Green Bay's defensive attack.
The battle in the trenches is a cliched talking point for football analysts and commentators, but in this game it truly does look to be where the game will be won or lost. If Green Bay is constantly breaking up plays in the back field and tearing up the Steelers' offensive line, it will be very tough for Pittsburgh to pull out a victory.
So the spotlight shines bright on the likes of Legursky, an undrafted free agent out of Marshall. Should be fun to watch.
For more on potential unsung heroes of Super Bowl XLV, check out Super Bowl XLV: 10 Unsung Heroes Who Could Snag Super Bowl MVP Honors.
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