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Miami Dolphins

The Mike Pouncey Misconception

Travis Wingfield



Mike Pouncey’s greatest talent is deception. Not on the football field, but in the way he is perceived by football fans and pundits alike. Somehow, the anonymous partner to Richie Incognito in creating a hate-filled atmosphere gets a pass. Somehow, his public support and admiration for a sadistic murderer is conveniently brushed aside.

Talent wins in the NFL. It will overshadow the inherent traits of an abominable personality – and that’s where Pouncey performs his greatest trick.

Pouncey came out of the shoots hot as the center and leader of the Dolphins’ offensive line. After Jake Long’s departure, Pouncey made the group his by earning pro-bowl nods in three consecutive years.

Then, after five years in the league, Pouncey was diagnosed with a degenerative hip condition. He would miss the first four games, return for the next five, then miss the final seven.

In 2017, in an effort to preserve his ticking-time-bomb-body, the Dolphins instituted an unusual practice schedule to limit physical activity for Pouncey.

As a result, the Dolphins struggled to pick up any exotic maneuvers from the defensive front (stunts and twists) and led the league in offensive penalties. Continuity matters. The Dolphins were literally taking Sunday’s test without studying ahead of each contest.

This past season was celebrated as if Pouncey had completed some unheard of athletic feat. A player is only lauded for games played when it has been an issue in the past. Sure, Pouncey played a 16-game slate for the first time since 2012; but how integral was he to the Dolphins’ success?

Pouncey finished every game but four in 2017. One game was a week 17 veteran’s day off; another was a blowout over the Denver Broncos. The third was a week seven game against the New York Jets – Pouncey missed one snap.

The fourth game was a week six showdown in Atlanta. Pouncey played the first half before exiting with a concussion. With Pouncey in the line-up, the Dolphins’ offense was shutout mustering just 99 total yards. Enter backup Jake Brendel and Miami throws up 20 points on 241 total yards.

This isn’t a new trend.

The Dolphins won games against the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills down the stretch in 2016 to secure a playoff berth – the first since Pouncey was drafted.

Miami’s highlight victory in 2015 came in week 17 against the New England Patriots – Pouncey watched from the sidelines.

Since Pouncey started missing games in 2013, the Dolphins are 27-33 (.450) with the center in the line-up. Without him, Miami is 11-9 (.555).

Take the name plate off the jersey, remove the first round draft status and Pouncey’s release would’ve been greeted with minimal pushback. After all, the Dolphins made the decision to cut the former pro-bowler – operative word, former.

Pouncey has become a shell of the player he once was. He could never anchor against bigger-bodied nose tackles and his one redeeming quality was the athleticism to pull and reach. With decaying hips, that trait is lost.

Yet, somehow, Pouncey has pulled off a Houdini Act to create the illusion that he’s both a decent human being and still an effective player.

Each are a farce.


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