Q&A: Maurkice Pouncey & Ramon Foster

Jim Wexell has some fun with the two vocal leaders of the Steelers' offensive line.

Maurkice Pouncey and Ramon Foster, OL, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: OK, Ramon, you seem to want to talk about the 25th day of camp. Are these really the dog days? Or are you guys trying to pump yourself up to finish strong?

RF: A little bit of both. Most would say this is what camp's all about, though. Twenty-five days here so far. We had the Hall of Fame Game so the young guys had more days to get going, and also for us too because we're doing a lot more stuff.

Q: Both of you guys guys seem to be energy-bringers, even you, the "soft-spoken Maurkice Pouncey."

MP: Yeah, that was crazy.

Q: But you guys seem to really care about the young guys. Why?

MP: They need that. They're coming in here inexperienced and they're getting thrown in the fire with some of the best players in the league. Our little added motivation and techniques that we can give them will help them out along the way, even if they're not going to be here after training camp.

RF: There's a lot of stress in this, so to get confirmation that you're doing a good job from an older guy is so helpful. And we've always been guys who've reached back to help the young guys, because you never know who's going to go down and who's going to have to step up. You don't want to crap on one of the young guys and not support him and not tell him how to work. That's one of the main things we have to do to continue to be a good line.

Q: You guys have that glue, that energy that you bring. Is that how you've always been? Are you that high-energied? Or is it when you two get together and become like a double cyclone?

MP: I think we're both high-energy guys, but we just love being around each other, love playing football. You've got to make it fun out there. I would hate to go out to practice every day thinking, "Man, this is going to suck. It's going to be too hard." So let's just go out there and have a good time, get through it, get better, and things will be a lot better at the end of the day.

Q: I heard you during the stretch telling DeAngelo Williams, 'I'm gonna go Mike Mitchell on your (rear).' So you do have your limits and sometimes draw a line.

(Both laughing)

MP: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It's all fun and games, man. We're a tight, close team. We've got a great chemistry here and we joke around about everybody. It's all in respect.

Q: I guess you can't tell me what 'going Mike Mitchell on your (rear)' even means?

MP: I don't even know. That was so spur-of-the-moment, I forget what that meant.

RF: (chuckling) I don't know if that was a serious one or what the case may have been on that. But, no, you have to be that way. This is a serious sport. If you don't have a good time with it, and laugh -- Coach Tomlin calls us The Laughers -- you've got to make em laugh because what we're doing is serious business. It's a business/job, so the laughing -- when it's time to laugh -- is a good thing for us.

Q: Obviously this line is way ahead of the last good line I can remember that has chemistry, talent, cohesion, the same coach. Somebody asked me what kind of condition the line is in. I deferred to Tunch Ilkin and he said, 'They're in great condition, and their technique is phenomenal.' Is he on the money with that? Or was he just trying to be nice?

MP: I think there's truth to it. It showed last year, and I think we've just got to keep building on that and humbling ourselves with the success and keep working every day.

RF: That's one of the things that Munch harps on a whole lot, that 'When you're tired your technique is going to get you to where you need to be.' So he works on it a lot with us. It's helped me out a whole lot. If we're all working the same technique and doing the same things on the line, it makes for a lot of success.

Q: What do you want to do better than you did last year as a line?

MP: Win more playoff games.

RF: Win more playoff games. Finish better. That will help us dominate.

Q: Maurkice, you host the Thursday night get-togethers. Are you the President and Ramon the Sergeant at Arms?

MP: I'm the Commander.

RF: It intertwines a lot and works on a lot of different levels too. Gil will get the food. Dave will make sure a lot of stuff is going on. Beach brings the film. We're a tight group.

MP: We all play a part in it.

RF: We do play a part. Even quiet DeCastro. He's a guy who makes it happen. Even if he shows up for only 15 minutes, he still shows up. It's a group of guys, and I think the mixture of the guys coming behind us are following the same road.

Q: Are you feeling more excitement at this point than you have in any other preseason?

MP: I just think we're feeling a lot more confident as a group. We feel like we can go out there and get the job done. The excitement part comes with winning more and more games.

RF: Yeah.

MP: I think we're just trying to get our minds ready for that.


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