Three-and-a-half months after undergoing surgery for a torn labrum in his hip, things look to be falling into place for Mike Pouncey to return to the Miami Dolphins' starting lineup this Sunday as they host the Green Bay Packers. The bigger question may be, where will Pouncey play?
A Pro Bowl center in the NFL, Pouncey played guard for most of his college career at the University of Florida, and feels that right guard is his natural position. With Miami needing assistance at guard, could the team be considering inserting Pouncey at guard, leaving veteran center Samson Satele in the lineup next to him?
According to Pouncey, that is exactly what head coach Joe Philbin is doing.
"Guard's my position," Pouncey told the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson Monday. "I was kind of forced to play center when I got drafted. Guard's been the position I've played my whole life. Whatever position I'm playing, I'll help the team. It's coach Philbin's decision."
Pouncey went on to tell Jackson that he took first team snaps at both center and guard during the day's practice. "They're going to put the best five guys on the field to help this team win," Pouncey said.
Satele said last week that he knew when he signed with the Dolphins that he was signing to be the interim center for the team until Pouncey returned, but that he also wanted to "make it as hard a decision as I could for [the coaches]." He accomplished that, and could actually end up keeping his starting job if the Dolphins think Pouncey at guard and Satele at center helps the offensive line the most.
Philbin's philosophy has always been to play the best players, keeping versatile players who can play more than one position so he has the flexibility to shift lineups if needed. If the best offensive line for Miami is Satele at center, Pouncey at right guard, Daryn Colledge at left guard, Ja'Wuan James at right tackle, and Branden Albert at left tackle, then that is likely how the team will lineup.