DAVIE, Fla. -- Mike Pouncey has a lot to look forward to in 2015.
The Miami Dolphins' Pro Bowler just signed a reported $51.25 million contract extension. Miami also is considered a team pushing for the playoffs next season, and Pouncey gets to move back to center, where he's played his best football at the NFL level.
"I can't wait. I’ve always felt like center was my natural position," Pouncey (pictured) said during Monday's news conference. "I feel like I’m one of the best centers in the league when I’m playing at the top of my game. I just can’t wait."
Pouncey started all 12 of his games at guard last season out of necessity. He missed the first four games following summer hip surgery, and when he returned, the Dolphins desperately needed him at guard.
Pouncey had mixed results at guard last season. Although he qualified his second consecutive Pro Bowl, Pouncey made some physical and mental errors he usually doesn’t make while playing center.
"I never really appreciated the guys that much at guard, but, man, when you go out there and you’ve got to play that position, it’s tough," Pouncey said. "It made me look at the game a lot different, but I just can’t wait to go back [to center]. I feel like center’s just always been my natural position as a leader. I like to go out there. I like to be the guy that sets everything up and I just can’t wait."
Pouncey will work directly again at center with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has been sacked 139 times in three seasons. Miami’s offensive line should be solid this season with Pouncey in the middle and quality offensive tackles Branden Albert and Ja'Wuan James on the perimeters. Miami's guard positions remain the biggest question marks.
"We’re going to work our tails off this year to keep him up on his feet because, when we do that, we all know what he can do," Pouncey said of the offensive line protecting Tannehill. "He’s a really good football player, he’s really talented. He’s grown over his career, over the years in the NFL, and I think he’s ready to be that guy. We’ve got to help him out. It’s going to be all on us, but our offensive line group’s going to be really good."