Dolphins' Pouncey has friendly rivalry with twin

Dolphins' Pouncey has friendly rivalry with twin

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey records and watches all of the Pittsburgh Steelers' games to study their All-Pro center, and visits with him on the phone every day, trading tips and talking trash.

Sometimes they remark on their similar styles of play, which is really no surprise. After all, they're identical twins.

Maurkice Pouncey was born a few minutes after Mike but made it to the NFL first, turning pro in 2010. Mike was drafted by the Dolphins last year and is now bidding to overtake his brother as the best center in the family - and the league.

``I just try to trademark his game,'' Mike said. ``He set the bar for our family in the NFL. I'm just trying to be the player he is.''

By all accounts Mike is closing the gap, even though this is only his third season as a center. Maurkice said his brother has turned the sibling rivalry into a close contest.

``It's awesome to watch,'' Maurkice said. ``I need to pick it up, man. He has been balling.''

The Dolphins agree. First-year coach Joe Philbin raved after the season opener about the 6-foot-5, 303-pound Mike Pouncey's agility and ability to block linebackers by reaching the so-called second level.

``He did some things that I haven't seen a linemen do in this league in a long time,'' Philbin said.

As Pouncey approaches the halfway point in his second NFL season, the Dolphins are increasingly confident he'll anchor their offensive line for years to come.

The team's blocking has improved considerably this season, which is one reason Miami (3-3) takes a two-game winning streak into Sunday's road game against the New York Jets (3-4). Sacks allowed are down dramatically, while running back Reggie Bush is on pace for his second successive 1,000-yard season.

In both cases, teammates and coaches give Pouncey credit as a leader of the line.

``He's playing very well,'' Philbin said. ``He does an excellent job of getting the group going. I think football is important to him. He brings a lot of passion and juice to the locker room, to the practice field and to the game.''

Like Maurkice, Mike Pouncey was a first-round draft choice -and taken three picks earlier than his brother at No. 15 overall. Mike won the starting job as a rookie in training camp, and quickly showed he had finally found a home at center.

Mike played running back and tight end in Little League, then was a left tackle in high school on state championship teams at Lakeland, Fla. At the University of Florida he started six games at defensive tackle as a freshman, then switched to right guard for two seasons, and as a senior he replaced his brother at center.

Despite his success, he misses carrying the ball the way he did as a kid.

``I feel like I should be playing another position,'' he said with a grin. ``I'm very athletic, and when I do get to the second level, I do feel like I dominate. I'm good on my feet.''

He's good in the locker room, too, where his jovial personality is a plus during the long grind of an NFL season.

``He's always keeping the atmosphere just really fun and light, and he's always joking around,'' Bush said. ``He's a guy that works hard and he's always challenging the rest of the team with his style of play. It's good to have a guy like that, especially at center.''

While Pouncey shares a bond with teammates, especially the other linemen, he remains closest to his brother. Since childhood they've been best friends and each other's biggest fan.

``When we get out of practice, we always call each other, and the first thing we ask each other is how was our day and how'd you do in practice,'' Mike said. ``I watch him on film and I'm like, `Man, do you ever miss a block?' He says the same thing. We want each other to be the best.''

Maurkice has made the Pro Bowl each of his first two seasons and was chosen All-Pro last year. He figures that with Mike's improvement, there's room for two Pounceys on this year's AFC Pro Bowl roster.

"That's the plan, man,'' Maurkice said. ``He's coming up pretty fast.''


AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.


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Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Following the Redskins' Week 2 preseason win over the Jets on Thursday, Jay Gruden said both Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine were "OK" after the two running backs each left the game with injuries. Marshall's was labeled a lower-leg issue, while Perine's injury was called a twisted ankle.

Timetables for their recoveries were then reported on Friday, and while the two members of the backfield escaped anything too severe, they will each be sidelined for decent chunks of time.

Perine will miss a week, according to Mike Garafolo. Marshall, meanwhile, is looking at a longer two-to-four week recovery, per Tom Pelissero. Those pieces of news hurt them in more ways than one.

Derrius Guice's torn ACL in Week 1 of the team's exhibition schedule meant that Marshall and Perine both had a big-time opportunity to step up and earn a spot on Washington's 53-man roster, spots that were harder to envision for them when Guice was healthy.

Overall, the two were slated to compete with Kapri Bibbs for what will likely be two spaces on the depth chart behind the absolutely safe Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley. Now, though, they'll be forced to sit until they're healed up, giving Bibbs more chances in practice and the two remaining August contests to earn Jay Gruden's trust.

Against New York, Bibbs struggled on the ground but led the offense with seven grabs, including a 29-yard gain off a screen play. That performance absolutely brought him closer in the race with Marshall, who scored vs. the Patriots a week earlier. Next, he'll need to prove he can run effectively between the tackles vs. the Broncos in Week 3, which will put some heat on Perine as well.

The 'Skins have 15 days left until they have to finalize their regular season roster. As things stand now amongst the running backs, Bibbs presently has a real shot at stealing a job from the two shelved RBs. But with the way this race has unfolded thus far, that can all change in a split second. 


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Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

Associated Press

Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

Despite being a brand new franchise with a new roster and new facilities, the Capital City Go-Go will carry into their inaugural season a level of continuity. Both their general manager and head coach are familiar with what they are getting into and the people they will be working with.

GM Pops Mensah-Bonsu is no stranger to the D.C. community and the Wizards franchise. He made a name for himself starring at George Washington University, spent time with the Wizards as a player in their 2013 training camp and remained a frequent visitor to Wizards games as a scout for the Spurs in recent years.

"To be back in the community and the first general manager of the G-League team is special," Mensah-Bonsu said. "This is D.C.’s team. I want them to embrace us."

Head coach Jarell Christian played college ball in Virginia and goes back several years with Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Christian joined the Oklahoma City's G-League staff when Brooks was in his final year as head coach of the Thunder.

Christian began his coaching journey with an eye trained on how Brooks goes about his job.

"My introduction to pro basketball was under Coach Brooks and his philosophies. A lot of that stuff, I believe in wholeheartedly. That’s my foundation," Christian said. "I got a chance to know him through training camp and throughout that season. He and I developed a bond and a relationship that stood the test of time. To this day, we still talk often. It’s just another chance for me to reconnect with him and to continue to grow our relationship."

The Go-Go intend to make what they do as similar to the Wizards as possible. When guys like Devin Robinson, one of their two-way players, is called up he can step right in without a learning curve of the playbook or how they practice.

Having Christian in place will help that process in particular.

"There won’t be any issue or any slippage with guys going up and down to know what’s in store for them," Christian said. "A lot of the stuff that the Wizards will do, we will implement with the Go-Go. Just some offensive and defensive concepts. Some of the playcalls and the terminology will be the same."

"Whatever you see the Wizards doing, you will probably see the Capital City Go-Go doing, too," Mensah-Bonsu said.

The symmetry between the G-League and the NBA teams will also be helped by the fact they will share the same practice facility. Their proximity will come with many advantages from the Go-Go perspective.

"I think it’s going to help motivate these guys. We’re going to be practicing in the same place that the Wizards do and the Mystics do," Mensah-Bonsu said. "I think if these guys can see Dwight Howard and John Wall and Bradley Beal walking around every day, it will help motivate them to get to that next level."

"The exposure our players get with the Wizards [front office], the Wizards personnel, being able to watch them practice daily, watching their practice habits and what their routines may be, is really big," Christian said.

That element will also apply beyond the players. Christian, who is just 32 years old, will get to watch how an NBA coaching staff operates on a daily basis.

Christian has yet to take a tour of the new building in Ward 8, but he has seen blueprints. Among the amenities the Go-Go will enjoy that other G-League teams do not usually have is a dedicated dining area.

Many G-League teams do not go to that length.

"A lot of organizations do not provide food for their players on a daily basis, but we will. That’s the No. 1 thing in my opinion that’s gonna set us apart from our competitors," he said.

The Go-Go won't take the floor for their first game until November, but it seems like a good foundation is starting to take place.

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