When Mike Pouncey was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2011, the expectations were high that he would bring the versatility and athleticism he was known for at the University of Florida as he could move from Guard to Center depending on the need.
While Pouncey was drafted as a Center, he spent much of his Florida career alongside his brother (Center for the Steelers) Maurkice Pouncey.
However, much of his Dolphins career has been marred by injury, much of it serious as he has struggled to finish games and has missed a stretch of games with hamstring, hip, foot, and knee issues.
During the 2015 season, he saw his season start later than usual, but still managed to start and play in 14 games. 2015 was a season also marred by several coach firings, among them the unpopular Joe Philbin.
Mike Pouncey this season underwent a hip surgery that kept him immobile and off of the football field until late July when he passed his physical with flying colors.
Since being drafted in 2011 by Jeff Ireland and head coach Tony Sparano, Pouncey has endured the worst of injuries and has played in a complete season twice in the 2011 and 2012 seasons with last season-2016 being the worst as he played in and started 5 games.
However, something had to change because despite Pouncey showing dependability and durability early in his career, he was battered and bruised at the midpoint of each season as the Dolphins fooled around with various offensive schemes in the Sparano, Philbin, and now Gase era.
The formula though heading into his recovery was to give Pouncey more rest than in the past and thus less reps in practice early in the week.
Adam Gase clearly saw the need to limit Pouncey and hold him out of practice until Thursday/Friday when practice matters the most before an NFL game.
What’s more, Pouncey has not only started in 15 games this season, but that makes 15 straight games (no bye week)-a feat for him as well as his teammates-who are also headed for their 16th straight start in one season.
Fans might get upset at his play such as a low snap here and there or an ill-advised hold in an effort to spring a big run, but the fact that Pouncey is playing at his highest of levels after 15 games after having undergone hip surgery is a testament to the saavy of Adam Gase to allow him ample time to recover and feel fresh week in and week out.
In terms of Pouncey’s value to the Dolphins, the 2018 offseason will be filled with looking at Mike Pouncey’s contract (up in 2020) is still owed a bit over 24 million dollars and a potential in 125,000 in work out bonuses.
You can bet as the Dolphins look to trim the fat in 2018 and get under the cap-significantly as a team, Pouncey could return to Miami, but at a reduced cost thus a potential restructure.
So for all the doom and gloom that the Miami Dolphins fans have undergone in 2017 with the Dolphins at 6-9-know this, Mike Pouncey is there anchoring the offensive line and going nearly 16 games stronger.
Photo credit: Miami Herald 2016