With Pittsburgh Steelers starting center Maurkice Pouncey now out for three weeks, backup B.J. Finney must step up as the new starter.
After the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Thursday Night Football matchup against the Cleveland Browns descended into chaos, it was expected that suspensions were on the way. On Friday, those suspensions were handed down and Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey now finds himself out for three weeks due to his involvement in Thursday’s ugliness. Even in the midst of one of his poorer seasons, Pouncey has remained an above-average starter and his absence significantly weakens the Steelers offensive line. Whether or not you believe his suspension is justified, one thing is obvious; Pouncey’s suspension means that his backup, B.J. Finney must step up.
In his fourth season with the Steelers, Finney knows as well as anybody how big a task replacing Pouncey will be. Luckily, Finney is familiar with the Steelers’ blocking schemes, making his adjustment a bit easier. Changing Centers during a season is never easy on Quarterbacks, especially young ones, but given Finney’s familiarity, the hope is that he and Mason Rudolph can form a quick connection over the next three games.
With that said, Finney has a lot to prove to the Steelers over the coming weeks. Assuming he is, in fact, their replacement play for Pouncey, he will almost certainly need to improve on his season so far. While Ramon Foster worked his way back from injury, Finney saw a lot of playing time earlier this season, but his effectiveness was shaky. His inconsistency eventually reached the point where Pittsburgh actually moved their Right Tackle, Matt Feiler inside to replace Finney when the team played Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams a couple of weeks ago.
Given another chance to prove himself as a worthy starter with Pouncey out, Finney has a golden opportunity in front of him. Pouncey hasn’t exactly been at his best this year and might be starting to decline. Even in the likely event that the Steelers stick by Pouncey as their starter moving forward, Finney must step up for a Pittsburgh Steelers team hoping to rebound from Thursday Night’s debacle.