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Thread: Steve Mclendon will see increased playing time

          
   
   
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    Veteran connecticutsteel's Avatar
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    Steve Mclendon will see increased playing time

    Due to Chris Hoke's neck injury. I'd prefer if they slid Hood over to nose and put Heyward in

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    Quote Originally Posted by connecticutsteel View Post
    Due to Chris Hoke's neck injury. I'd prefer if they slid Hood over to nose and put Heyward in
    Ziggy has just started showing that he's a keeper and now you want to move him?

    I agree that Ironhead needs more reps though. He only got 5 plays last week. By the way, McLendon played about half the game last week.

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    McLendon is the next in line for backup NT. You have to find out what you have in him. He had a good preseason but did get alittle blown up at times this past Sunday. At the same time though he also showed flashes of potential. Let Hood stay over on the left side, he's playing pretty well there. In certain situations Hood can move over to NT but let's see what McLendon has.

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    McClendon was decent last week. Not great but not bad either. He showed he can play the position but he got blown back a few times too. I feel like he will get better the more time he gets. With Snack out I prefer Hoke in there but Steve will have to do the job and I think he will.

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    I am pretty great. Rampage's Avatar
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    McClendon is a solid backup. That said, I too would not mind seeing Heyward - Hood - Keisel on the line. Hood could wreak havoc on the center of an o-line and get a good push.

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    McClendon has the fire and intensity, he could do with bulking up a bit to stay his ground, but it'll be an interesting watch, in turn we should see more of Heyward too, I like what i've seen in limited action to date.

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    Steelers trying new man in the middle.....


    By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Only a technicality will prevent Steve McLendon from making his first career start Sunday. That is how the second-year defensive tackle is approaching the Steelers' upcoming game at Arizona.

    McLendon said he expects to be the No. 1 nose tackle against the Cardinals, and he will start unless the Steelers open in a nickel defense instead of their base 3-4.

    ″There's going to be excitement. There's going to be nerves. That's part of it,″ McLendon said Thursday. ″After that first snap, that first play, all of that will go out the window.″

    Although the offensive linemen have drawn much of the attention among injured Steelers, the defensive line hasn't exactly been immune to getting hurt.

    Usual starting nose tackle Casey Hampton has not practiced this week because of a shoulder injury. The 11th-year veteran is not expected to play Sunday.

    Chris Hoke, Hampton's backup, also has not practiced this week after leaving last week's game with a stinger. Hoke is trying to regain enough strength in his shoulders to receive medical clearance to play.

    ″I'm doing everything I can to be ready,″ Hoke said.

    Not that McLendon simply will be considered the last man standing if Hampton and Hoke are unable to suit up against the Cardinals.

    ″That's one person I'm not worried about,″ Hampton said. ″He's big, strong, physical; it's just a matter of him getting some experience because all the tools of being a really, really good nose tackle are there for him. (If the Cardinals) test him, that'll be a mistake because he'll definitely be ready to go.″

    That is high praise for a player the Steelers signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and released from their practice squad his first season with the team.

    The 6-foot-4, 280-pound McLendon has relied on resiliency as much as brute strength to get here. The former Troy standout played his way onto the 53-man roster early last season and appeared in seven games.

    McLendon and Hoke made the team this season, even though conventional thinking had them battling for one roster spot.

    The Steelers have needed all three nose tackles. McLendon played extensively in a 17-13 win against Jacksonville because of Hoke's injury.

    He stood his ground in the middle and, in the process, showed that he is not merely a stop-gap at a position the Steelers need a long-term replacement for Hampton, 34, and Hoke, 35.

    ″There's only one Casey, but I think that Steve has got great strength,″ Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said of McLendon, 24. ″He has improved almost daily since the day that he came here. You can never have too many quality players; you can never have too much depth, and Steve is one of the reasons that we have good depth. The more that he actually plays, the better he'll get.″

    McLendon, who has been credited with a half-sack this season, doesn't appear to be lacking confidence.

    ″You've got to play fast. You've got to play hard. You've got to play smart, make sure you've got to try to dominate (who is) in front of you,″ McLendon said. ″My teammates are depending on me to step up and play big.″

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    Veteran Goodfrom55's Avatar
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    Defense keeps getting younger each week. Steelers week 7 starters on defense average 28.9 years of age.

    Hope they can apply the pressure to Kolb and froce him into some INT's.

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    Veteran connecticutsteel's Avatar
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    I expect to smash the cards thisweek they are thinking with no Casey itwill be a walk in the park

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    With a defensive unit chock full of thirty-something veterans, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin will turn to one of his youngest players Sunday to give his team a lift. Steve McLendon, a second-year pro from Troy University, will make his first NFL start at nose tackle against the Arizona Cardinals.

    McLendon, 25, started the season as the third-string nose tackle but has moved up the depth chart because starter Casey Hampton and top backup Chris Hoke are injured. Hampton will miss his third consecutive game with a shoulder injury. Hoke, injured the victory last week against Jacksonville, did not practice all week and is listed as doubtful.

    McLendon played extensively for the first time in his career against the Jaguars after Hoke left the game in the first half. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said McLendon played well and that he has no qualms about starting him.

    "Steve has great strength," LeBeau said. "He has improved almost daily from the day he came here. [Defensive line coach John] Mitchell has done a great job with him. You can never have enough quality players.

    "You can never have too much depth. Steve is one of the reasons we have good depth. The more he actually plays, the better he'll get. I have a lot of confidence in him. He'll play hard and he'll be in the right spot. He'll be where he needs to be."
    The nose tackle is one of the most important players in LeBeau's 3-4 defense because he occupies blockers and allows linebackers to run free and make tackles on running plays. Inside linebacker Larry Foote is anxious to see how 6-foot-4, 280-pound McLendon performs as a starter.

    "He did good, but I think the eyes will really be on him this week," Foote said. "He'll play a full game. We'll see how he reacts. We know he's a great talent. We saw him in practice last year. There's a reason why he's here. But there's a difference from doing it in practice and doing it in a game."

    McLendon was on the practice squad for the 2009 season and went back and forth between the practice squad and active roster last season. He said the biggest adjustment for him has been learning LeBeau's 3-4 defense after playing in a 4-3 in college.

    "My first year, I'm not going to lie, it took me my whole first year to learn it," McLendon said.

    "Once I really caught the hang of it, I practiced it a lot. That was my biggest thing, just being able to see things faster. The biggest thing for me was I couldn't slow stuff down, everything was so fast. My second year, I came in with the mindset of slow it down, you know the plays now, just play the technique the coach has been teaching you. That's what I started doing."

    McLendon has some big shoes to fill. Hoke, 17-1 when replacing Hampton in the starting lineup. has been impressed with McLendon and his work ethic.
    "He's doing great job," Hoke said. "He works hard and wants to be good. A lot of it is the willingness to prepare and be good. A lot of guys have the talent, but don't want to put in the time and the effort.

    "That's what he wants to do. He has all the tools and he wants to be good, so he'll be good."

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