THE MICHAEL BARI SHOW
Michael talks football and looks at the NFL AFC North Division
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The Tribune-Review will examine each position on the Steelers roster as they prepare to report for training camp July 25 at Saint Vincent. Today’s installment looks at the four centers:
Maurkice Pouncey: He was named to the Pro Bowl for the sixth time in eight seasons. The two omissions were when he suffered season-ending injuries. Pouncey has started 15 games in back-to-back seasons and has formed a strong bond with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Because he is the man in the middle, he may be the most important component of the offensive line — even more than All-Pro guard David DeCastro.
B.J. Finney: The versatile Finney started four games last year — two at left guard, one as a blocking tight end and the season finale against the Cleveland Browns when Pouncey sat for rest. He will be the top interior backup for the third year in a row.
Parker Collins: At Appalachian State, Collins was a guard for two years before switching to center as a senior. He spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars last summer and was in training camp with the Los Angeles Rams. Collins was added to the Steelers roster in April.
Patrick Morris: An undrafted free agent, Morris was signed immediately after the NFL Draft. At TCU, Morris started as a center as a senior after playing guard as a junior. He was lauded for his play at Alamo Bowl, when he limited Stanford’s Harrison Phillips to three tackles.
Camp question: Will Pouncey regain his All-Pro status? Despite continuing his run of Pro Bowl appearances, Pouncey hasn’t made the first-team or second-team All-Pro list since 2014. Pro Football Focus has been critical of Pouncey’s play, and a return to an All-Pro level would help silence his skeptics. By JOE RUTTER
Former Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson was the most polarizing quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft class. Some had him ranked as the best quarterback in the class, while others believed he should switch positions.
The 2016 Heisman winner and 2017 finalist had an exciting college career. Jackson’s college career was seemingly one explosive play after another. His ability as a passer is often underrated as many think of him as a running-first quarterback, but that is far from the case. He does make a ton of plays with his legs, but his football IQ and arm strength are both impressive as well. Throughout his entire college career, Jackson would scan the field and progress through his reads at a ‘pro level.’ He is not a one-read and checkdown quarterback.
Jackson also improved as a passer each year at Louisville. Although his accuracy is an issue, merely reading his completion percentage does not tell the whole story. He dealt with drops from his receivers and inadequate protection from his offensive line.
Jackson was not the most pro-ready prospect entering the 2018 NFL Draft, but he could have the highest ceiling. With proper coaching, Jackson can improve his mechanics, footwork, and accuracy issues. There were several ‘inaccurate quarterbacks’ coming out of college that have had successful NFL careers, such as Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford.
The Ravens selected Lamar Jackson with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. They had to trade back into the first-round to obtain him. Some fans felt he was drafted too high, while others were thrilled that Baltimore paid a relatively low price to secure the potential successor to Joe Flacco.
When veteran quarterback Drew Stanton signed with the Browns this past spring, he became the oldest player on a new-look roster brimming with youngsters.
That’s just fine by the 34-year-old signal caller, who has embraced the role of being a mentor in what will be his 11th NFL season and first in Northeast Ohio.
After all, Stanton said, that’s partly why Cleveland brought him here in the first place.
“We’ve all been brought here for different reasons and the experience that we have in this league,” Stanton said last month toward the end of offseason workouts.“I’ve been fortunate enough to have been around for a while and just trying to be an advocate for younger players and show them the way.” Continue Reading By Patrick Maks
Former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones was involved in an altercation at the Atlanta airport on Tuesday night, according to police.
The fight left Jones, who is currently a free agent, with a laceration on his face and resulted in the arrest of airport employee Frank Ragin, who “was determined to be the primary aggressor,” according to an incident summary report from the Atlanta Police Department.
Police said the fight took place near Gate B6 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after Ragin, who works for facility-management company ABM, made some sort of gesture toward Jones. The two exchanged words until Ragin “struck Mr. Jones with a closed fist,” according to police.
A video of the altercation obtained by TMZ Sports and published Wednesday shows Jones and Ragin then squaring up toward one another as a woman tries to separate them. A series of punches follows, and Ragin lands on the ground. Police have initially determined that Jones was defending himself. Continue Reading By Tom Schad, Cincinnati Enquirer