LeClaire / USA TODAY Sports Images

With injuries at right tackle, Steelers getting Hubbard, Pouncey ready

All-Pro center willing to to pull an Alan Faneca if Steelers need him at right tackle on Sunday.

PITTSBURGH -- Two dates to remember this week as the Pittsburgh Steelers and their injury-depleted offensive line prepare to play the New York Jets and their seemingly unblockable defensive line:

* June 6, 2013 -- the rainy spring practice day at Heinz Field when Maurkice Pouncey was moved to right tackle as a bit of a team joke.

* Oct. 12, 2003 -- the day Alan Faneca started at left tackle but moved back to guard when the Steelers needed a few tough yards.

Pouncey remembered the first date, of course. He moved out to right tackle that day whenever rookie QB Landry Jones stepped under center. Mike Tomlin joked that Jones, being a rookie, wasn't allowed to touch the best center in the game at that point in his career. But, of course, Tomlin also gave some reps to Pouncey at an odd position, so that, well ...

"I'm going to play it today, too," Pouncey said. "So we'll see."

Pouncey when pressed said it would only be "some reps," as in the Steelers are no doubt setting up for an emergency situation behind potential starting tackle Chris Hubbard who's expected to get the majority of reps today in place of injured starter Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and injured backup Ryan Harris (lower leg).

Hubbard played tackle in college at UAB and helped the Steelers at left tackle last year by playing one snap there against the Cincinnati Bengals last December. But other than that, and this preseason, Hubbard has been an interior lineman during his three years with the Steelers.

"I would feel kind of crazy if it was a guy we just brought off the streets, but this guy's been here for years," Pouncey said of Hubbard. "He's been a part of it. He's seen a lot of action. He played in a lot of preseason games. I think he's ready for the challenge and he's going to take it and run with it."

If he can't, perhaps Pouncey will do what Faneca did in 2003 to help out in an emergency.

"That's why he's going to be in the Hall of Fame pretty soon. He was a great player," Pouncey said.

Is changing positions in-game like that a feasibility?

"Yeah, whenever you swing positions like that it is a little bit difficult, man, but football players adjust to adversity," Pouncey said. "You've got to swing through things and fight through it. That might be how we'll roll this week."

If Pouncey were to find himself at right tackle, it's likely he would be replaced at center by B.J. Finney, who played center for four years at Kansas State and stepped in to play left guard Sunday night for the Steelers. Finney clearly rose to the occasion with a fine performance against the Chiefs.

"He did a great job. Y'all seen it," Pouncey said. "He's been so young and inspired. Sometimes I look at him and I'm like 'Man, that's how I used to be when I was younger.' So into it, so (energetic). It's great watching him grow."

Pouncey said the Steelers didn't change anything for Finney.

"We even pulled him and everything," Pouncey said. "He did a great job. All hands up to him. He really attacked the week. He goes out there and busts his butt every day. You can appreciate having a guy like him."

Finney even went out and busted his finger last week -- or at least suffered what was termed a "double dislocation" of his ring finger after getting it caught in a facemask.

"Yeah, right, and still," Pouncey said with a chuckle. "Hell, Finney wasn't going to miss that game for nothing. He'll cut it off if he has to."

Steel City Insider Top Stories