In his first season in the NFL, Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey may not have earned the same All Pro and Pro Bowl honors his twin brother Maurkice had as a rookie with the Pittsburgh Steelers the season before, but he played well for a rookie thrust into the starting lineup without the benefit of an offseason. Pouncey didn't commit a single penalty until Week 13, when he had sort of hit the rookie wall.
Entering his second season, the slightly older Pouncey brother expects to take a big leap in his performance, including that as a leader.
"Well, yeah. I was a rookie last year. We didn't have any offseason program like we do this year," Pouncey said, according to Izzy Gould of the Sun-Sentinel. "Now I have more time to learn the offense, more time to adjust to it. This offseason program's going to help me a lot more to be smoother with the play calling.
"They say your second year is supposed to be your best year. I'm hoping for big things. I'm coming out as hard as I can. I want to take on more of a leadership role this year."
The Dolphins have changed blocking schemes this season, going from a power system under Tony Sparano to a zone-blocking system under first-year head coach Joe Philbin. The new blocking system may help the Dolphins' running game, which remained in the middle of the pack in Football Outsiders' "Adjusted Line Yards" last season despite Reggie Bush's 1,000-yard season. A healthy season from 2011 second-round pick Daniel Thomas would help, as the Dolphins went from 1st to 32nd in "Power" runs, those defined as short-yardage runs on third and fourth down that achieve a first down or touchdown.