Steelers' Maurkice Poucey: Hopefully we can get a couple wins and everyone can shut up

CHRIS ADAMSKI
The (Greensburg) Tribune Review (TNS)
Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey.

Maurkice Pouncey tested positive for coronavirus last month but was asymptomatic.

"I didn't have one symptom," the Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl center said.

But what is making Pouncey sick now isn't so much the Steelers' three-game losing streak but the negative reaction and gloom and doom others are assigning to his team that started 11-0.

"It's just football," Pouncey said during a Christmas Eve Zoom call with media. "Things are supposed to be talked about good and bad, so who cares? Just move on.

"Hopefully we can get a couple wins coming up and everyone can shut up."

One of the Steelers offensive captains and their second-longest-tenured player behind Ben Roethlisberger, Pouncey struck a defiant tone in his first session with media since October. It was not unlike the way he struck back via social media at ESPN analyst Anthony "Booger" McFarland for McFarland referring to the Steelers as "soft" last week.

Asked about the nine times Roethlisberger was hit because of pressure from Cincinnati Bengals defenders that had gotten past Pouncey and his fellow Steelers offensive linemen, Pouncey said: "We won 11 games with it, so I don't know. I got hit like 58 times in that game."

Though it's difficult to quantify offensive line performance, Pro Football Focus grades the Steelers unit as the NFL's second-worst in run blocking but No. 8 in pass protection. The Steelers rank 31st in the league in rushing yards and 17th in passing yards.

The Steelers have allowed a league-low 12 sacks.

Still, Pouncey acknowledged plenty of areas for improvement, particularly in the running game.

"There's no pointing fingers," Pouncey said. "We won 11 games, and we weren't pointing fingers then, so why start now? We'll figure it out so you guys can write something good."

"We'll get things together. Trust me."