It has only taken Mike Pouncey two seasons to establish himself as one of the game’s finest centers, continuing an organizational lineage of elite play in the middle of the offensive line started by Jim Langer and Dwight Stephenson.
After last week’s exit meetings, Pouncey sat down with The Finsiders to reflect on his second season and start looking ahead to next year.
“We had the personnel to go farther than what we did this year; we needed more leadership.” Pouncey said. “I think that’s something that this whole team has to work on. I think our coaching staff did a great job putting us in situations to win football games. It just takes a lot of chemistry to make it to the playoffs.”
It was another strong season for the Dolphins’ 2011 first-round pick, reaching new heights after a strong rookie season. Many around the league took notice, too, from Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin to New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, the four-time second-team All Pro, whom Pouncey has now faced off with four times.
Continuity and comfort in Mike Sherman and Philbin’s offense — Pouncey won’t be learning a new offense for the first time in his young pro career — should allow his on-field maturation to continue.
First and foremost, though, Pouncey wants to continue to build his presence in the locker room, taking on more of the leadership burden during his third season.
“Just improve as a leader,” Pouncey said. “I think my game is at its top right now. I think I’m playing very well, one of the best in the league. I think just my leadership role, as far as getting this team to the playoffs and that kind of stuff, is going to improve from this year to next year.”
The Dolphins, of course, were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 16 prior to the season-ending loss in New England; for the most part, attention seemed to shift rather quickly towards what could be done in 2013 to get into the postseason.
But Pouncey said that, yes, there is a little bit of the “what if” game played after a 7-9 season, especially with all the close calls the Dolphins had.
“You live and learn from that kind of stuff. We’re going to grow from that as a football team,” Pouncey said. “Hopefully, we’ll take this offseason more seriously than we’ve ever taken it before and come back and have a playoff football team next year.”
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.