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hawaiiansteel
05-27-2012, 02:43 AM
Nose tackle McLendon has earned Steelers’ trust

By Mark Kaboly - Tribune-Review
Published: Sunday, May 27, 2012

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=FzUoi G2pv5GuGoT8WiybT8$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYu$uCyzOrfNTos BpzwR2eBgWCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

The Steelers' Steve McLendon during OTAs on the South Side May 23, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

Steve McLendon has been released five times during his three years with the Steelers. Now he could be in line to start at nose tackle.

April 27, 2009: Signed as undrafted
free agent

Sept. 5, 2009: Released

Sept. 6, 2009: Signed to practice squad

Nov. 25, 2009: Released

Dec. 2, 2009: Signed to practice squad

Sept. 4, 2010: Released

Sept. 6, 2010: Signed to practice squad

Sept. 18, 2010: Signed to 53-man roster

Sept. 20, 2010: Released

Sept. 21, 2010: Signed to practice squad

Oct. 2, 2010: Signed to 53-man roster

Oct. 7, 2010: Released

Oct. 11, 2010: Signed to practice squad

Oct. 30, 2010: Signed to 53-man roster

John Mitchell doesn’t arbitrarily hand out compliments; it’s not his style. Instead, the Steelers’ defensive line coach is known to motivate through intimidation.

So when Mitchell went out of his way last month after the Steelers drafted nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu to praise third-year undrafted free agent Steve McLendon, eyebrows were raised.

“Everybody wants to discard McLendon. Let me tell you this, hold your opinion until the season is over,” Mitchell said. “I’m just saying keep your opinion until after the season, (then) you make the decision.”

The Steelers already have made their decision.

They have full confidence in McLendon, who has been released almost as many times as he has recorded a tackle, if veteran Casey Hampton’s surgically repaired knee isn’t ready for the season opener Sept. 9.

“That comes from trust,” McLendon said. “That trust comes from doing everything right. You are not going to be perfect, but (Mitchell) saw that I came in day in and day out with my lunch pail and I was ready to work. Coach Mitch knows that I know my stuff.”

McLendon was asked to fill in at nose tackle last year, first when Chris Hoke was injured, then later when Hampton went down. In the two games McLendon played the most, the defense held Arizona to 73 rushing yards and Denver to 40 below its season average.

McLendon has caught the attention of not only the coaching staff but also some veterans.

“He might be the strongest dude on the defense,” offensive lineman Trai Essex said. “The man has a mean stiff-arm and gets inside of you. He is an exceptional athlete for his size.”

The knock on McLendon hasn’t been his strength but his size.

He weighed 280 pounds in his first year with the Steelers. McLendon is still listed on the roster at that weight but now weighs 325 pounds to go with his 6-foot-4 frame.

“He is way too cut up to be a typical nose tackle,” Essex said. “There is not too much fat on that guy. This kid is going to be good.”

In a division where Haloti Ngata, Domata Peko and Phil Taylor look like fire plugs, McLendon is out to show different isn’t necessarily bad when it comes to nose tackles.

“I am not going to look like what everybody wants me to look like,” he said. “A lot of nose tackles use their size as their strength. I use my power as my strength. I am not going to look like Casey Hampton. I feel like if I look good, I will play good.”

With Hampton likely to start the season on the physically unable to perform list and Ta’amu switching from end to nose in his rookie year, the Steelers have no reservations turning the position over to a guy they cut five times in a span of 13 months.

McLendon is confident in his abilities.

“My goal is to be great in every aspect of my game,” McLendon said. “If there is something that Coach Mitch sees that I need to get better at, I told him to let me know. All I want to do is get better.”

McLendon is learning the roles of the entire defense, which he feels will help him perform better in games. McLendon credits Hoke for helping him with the mental aspect of the position.

“The tough part is the mental part,” he said. “Knowing what to do and how to do and when to do it is important. I picked Hokie’s brain every chance I got last year.”

McLendon has a specific concept of what kind of player he eventually wants to be.

“I want to be able to be smart like Hoke. I want to be quick like (Dallas’) Jay Ratliff, and I want to be powerful and strong like Hamp,” McLendon said. “You put all that together, and I want that to be Steve McLendon.”

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/1863450-85/mclendon-2010-nose-signed-steelers-sept-released-tackle-2009-practice

Sugar
05-27-2012, 04:43 PM
Who knows, maybe McClendon can follow in the footsteps of James Harrison?

BradshawsHairdresser
05-27-2012, 05:45 PM
I love how McLendon has kept working hard, and worked his way right into our defensive rotation.
He's probably going to be the next decade's Casey Hampton, but maybe he can be the next decade's Chris Hoke.

squidkid
05-27-2012, 05:47 PM
cool, lets cut caseys fat arse as soon as financial possible

Slapstick
05-27-2012, 06:03 PM
cool, lets cut caseys fat arse as soon as financial possible

That will be after the season when his contract expires...Casey accepted a pay cut to stay with the team, so his roster spot is most likely safe...

NJ-STEELER
05-27-2012, 07:36 PM
big reason why i didnt want to see an NT drafted in the top rounds

Shoe
05-28-2012, 12:23 PM
It's kinda cool, as I focused on McLendon play in games, I was impressed with the power he played with in his arms. It was evident; he arms were like telephone poles as he worked to control linemen. It's cool that I was seeing the same thing that pros (i.e. Essex) see.

His situation is a lot like Redman's actually. I also wonder of his potential to play DE, he could eventually fill a combo role (starting DE/back-up NT or vice versa). I would like to see him get his chance to start.

RuthlessBurgher
05-29-2012, 10:10 AM
It's kinda cool, as I focused on McLendon play in games, I was impressed with the power he played with in his arms. It was evident; he arms were like telephone poles as he worked to control linemen. It's cool that I was seeing the same thing that pros (i.e. Essex) see.

In the pic above, his arms do look like my legs (darker and with more tattoos, but still)....

steelblood
05-29-2012, 10:37 AM
In the pic above, his arms do look like my legs (darker and with more tattoos, but still)....

Are you a patient of Nick Riviera?
http://www.thesharkguys.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/dr-nick-riviera1.gif

Mr McCraig http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTz8rKJk-Vw

phillyesq
05-29-2012, 10:54 AM
cool, lets cut caseys fat arse as soon as financial possible

I believe I read somewhere that Casey's salary was guaranteed in exchange for his agreeing to a paycut.

In any event, I don't understand the Casey Hampton hate. He isn't the player that he was when he was younger, but he is still a well above-average nose tackle. On a defense that has lost a lot of veteran leadership, I wouldn't want to rush out a leader who can still play.

McClendon will certainly be somebody who is interesting to watch this year. I'm not quite sure that I see him as the heir apparent to Hampton, but I could easily see him with a Hoke-like career as a super-sub/rotational player. I think McClendon might play more DE than Hoke ever did.

Oviedo
05-29-2012, 11:15 AM
I believe I read somewhere that Casey's salary was guaranteed in exchange for his agreeing to a paycut.

In any event, I don't understand the Casey Hampton hate. He isn't the player that he was when he was younger, but he is still a well above-average nose tackle. On a defense that has lost a lot of veteran leadership, I wouldn't want to rush out a leader who can still play.

McClendon will certainly be somebody who is interesting to watch this year. I'm not quite sure that I see him as the heir apparent to Hampton, but I could easily see him with a Hoke-like career as a super-sub/rotational player. I think McClendon might play more DE than Hoke ever did.

I agree. Hampton is an asset at his reduced price...for one more year. After 2012 he does need to go away. T-mu will be able to learn and will be a good player teamed with McLendon going forward

RuthlessBurgher
05-29-2012, 12:15 PM
Are you a patient of Nick Riviera?
http://www.thesharkguys.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/dr-nick-riviera1.gif

Mr McCraig http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTz8rKJk-Vw

Hi, everybody!

Why, if it isn't my old friend, Mr. McGreg. With a leg for an arm and an arm for a leg.

;)

phillyesq
05-30-2012, 09:34 AM
Nice writeup on McClendon here:

http://pit.scout.com/2/1190465.html

He gets high praise from Pouncey.

feltdizz
05-30-2012, 10:08 AM
I believe I read somewhere that Casey's salary was guaranteed in exchange for his agreeing to a paycut.

In any event, I don't understand the Casey Hampton hate. He isn't the player that he was when he was younger, but he is still a well above-average nose tackle. On a defense that has lost a lot of veteran leadership, I wouldn't want to rush out a leader who can still play.

McClendon will certainly be somebody who is interesting to watch this year. I'm not quite sure that I see him as the heir apparent to Hampton, but I could easily see him with a Hoke-like career as a super-sub/rotational player. I think McClendon might play more DE than Hoke ever did.

Some people never grow up...

I could see if Casey was trying to be a model but the guy is a freaking NT. Pointing out his weight is as juvenile as it gets.

Shoe
05-30-2012, 08:27 PM
I admit that I've been a big harsh on late-career Hampton (I was a big fan of early/mid-career Hampton), and I admit that a lot of it is probably based on perception. Natural inclination is to think of FAT guys as lazy, or complacent, or entitled.

fordfixer
05-30-2012, 08:46 PM
Some people never grow up...

I could see if Casey was trying to be a model but the guy is a freaking NT. Pointing out his weight is as juvenile as it gets.
Why cant Casey be a model, some one has to be the "before guy":D

hawaiiansteel
05-31-2012, 10:11 PM
Steelers NT Steve McLendon Poised to Start in 2012

by Neal Coolong on May 28, 2012

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/4171160/129364623_extra_large.jpg

NFL Around The League writer (and BTSC friend) Brian McIntyre wrote an interesting piece on Steelers NT Steve McLendon, expounding on the work done by Tribune-Review writer Mark Kaboly. The subject of both articles was to show McLendon as a potential starter among the Steelers defensive line.

They both certainly make a good case for it, but they seem to be missing the forest for the trees. Odds are excellent McLendon will be the starter in Week 1.

Kaboly quoted an aggressive-sounding Steelers defensive line coach Johnny Mitchell, who is vouching for McLendon:

"Everybody wants to discard McLendon. Let me tell you this, hold your opinion until the season is over. I'm just saying keep your opinion until after the season, (then) you make the decision."

I don't think I need to wait until the season is over. McLendon is reputed to be a workout warrior, and has studied the defense diligently in his three years in the league. He's always had quickness but he's been adding power, reportedly weighing in at 325 pounds.

The drafting of Alameda Ta'amu could, to some, dampen enthusiasm toward McLendon, but the fact is McLendon had been filling in for Hampton much of last season, after NT Chris Hoke's season was ended due to a neck injury.

Coach Mitchell isn't going to give out starting jobs via the media, but the fact he went as far as he did to praise McLendon only suggests the job is his, and the expectations for him are high.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/5/28/3048145/steelers-nt-steve-mclendon-poised-to-start-in-2012#storyjump[/QUOTE]

RuthlessBurgher
07-11-2012, 12:18 PM
I thought McLendon revealed this offseason that he was now closer to 320 (even though he is still listed on the official roster as 280...much like Casey is still listed as 325 when he has been 350+ for years).


Steelers’ Steve McLendon: I can play nose tackle at 280 pounds
Posted by Michael David Smith on July 11, 2012, 7:05 AM EDT

At 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, Steve McLendon is not a small man. At least, he would not be a small man if he were something other than an NFL defensive tackle.

But as an NFL defensive tackle, he’s frequently described as “undersized.” And as a nose tackle in Pittsburgh, where they’re accustomed to Casey Hampton showing up to camp at 350 pounds or so, McLendon looks tiny.

McLendon, however, insists that he’s the right size for the job.

“People may say I am not the classic nose tackle, but what is the classic nose tackle? Some nose tackles are big, some small,” McLendon told Steelers.com. “If you look at Jay Ratliff for the Cowboys he is not a big nose tackle, but he plays very well. You look at Casey Hampton and he is a big nose tackle and plays well. I figure I will be in between. If I can move quick at nose and play strong at nose, it’s all going to work itself out for me.”

With Hampton likely to open the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list while he recovers from a torn ACL, McLendon is currently penciled in as the starting nose tackle in Pittsburgh. He says that’s a job he’s ready for.

“I want to be great,” McLendon said. “I have taken my work ethic to the next level. I am pushing myself every day. If the stars are where I want to reach, I need to reach past them. The expectations are really, really high. That should be of everybody in the Steelers organization. The expectation is to win the Super Bowl and be great.”

And McLendon is confident he can be great without being 300 pounds.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/07/11/steelers-steve-mclendon-i-can-play-nose-tackle-at-280-pounds/

grotonsteel
07-11-2012, 12:34 PM
Will Steelers use Steve Mclendon like jay ratliff or he will be asked to take 2 blockers? I don't think Steve can take 2 blockers consistently like Casey but i think he will be a better player if he goes after the QB.

RuthlessBurgher
07-11-2012, 01:15 PM
Will Steelers use Steve Mclendon like jay ratliff or he will be asked to take 2 blockers? I don't think Steve can take 2 blockers consistently like Casey but i think he will be a better player if he goes after the QB.

In the nickel and dime defenses, he'll be allowed to go after the QB...and since the NFL has evolved into a pass-happy league where you are in nickel or dime defenses for more than half the time, he'll get his chances to rush the passer.

hawaiiansteel
07-11-2012, 01:29 PM
Coaches have confidence in McLendon

Teresa Varley - Steelers.com
July 9, 2012

Moments after the Steelers selected nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu in the fourth-round of this year’s NFL Draft, defensive line Coach John Mitchell sat in the team’s media room fielding questions from the reporters on hand.

After a few questions about Ta’amu, Mitchell was asked about Steve McLendon, hinting that he isn’t the prototypical nose tackle at 6-4, 280 pounds.

Mitchell didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“Everybody wants to discard McLendon, let me tell you this, hold your opinion until the season is over,” said Mitchell emphatically. “I'm just saying keep your opinion until after the season, you make the decision.”

When McLendon heard Mitchell’s words, he couldn’t help it but smile.

“It shows he has confidence in me,” said McLendon. “He only says stuff like that if he is confident in you. I am going to come to work every day and show him I can do this.

“People may say I am not the classic nose tackle, but what is the classic nose tackle. Some nose tackles are big, some small. If you look at Jay Ratliff for the Cowboys he is not a big nose tackle, but he plays very well. You look at Casey Hampton and he is a big nose tackle and plays well. I figure I will be in between. If I can move quick at nose and play strong at nose, it’s all going to work itself out for me.”

With Mitchell having high expectations for McLendon this season, it comes as no surprise that the third-year tackle out of Troy has the same type of expectations of himself.

“I want to be great,” said McLendon. “I have taken my work ethic to the next level. I am pushing myself every day. If the stars are where I want to reach, I need to reach past them. The expectations are really, really high. That should be of everybody in the Steelers organization. The expectation is to win the Super Bowl and be great.”

McLendon signed with the Steelers in 2009 as an undrafted rookie. He spent the majority of the 2009 season on the practice squad, was waived before the start of the 2010 season, spending the first few months of the season bouncing from the practice squad to the active roster.

He finally solidified a spot on the roster mid-way through the 2010 season, and became a vital back-up in 2011, fighting tooth and nail every step of the way.

“You have to remember what got you here, hard work and fighting,” said McLendon. “If you fight for it every day things happen. No one else believes in you, you should believe in yourself. I believe I can do the job. I am ready for anything.”

With Chris Hoke retiring this offseason, McLendon is going to have to be ready as the number one backup to Hampton, who is coming back from a knee injury in the AFC wild card game. If Hampton can’t go, it will be McLendon that gets the call.

“It is an opportunity for me and the rest of us,” said McLendon. “We all have to step up. It is a real good opportunity for me as well.”

One person who is helping to make sure McLendon is ready to step up is defensive end Ziggy Hood. They both came to the Steelers the same year, Hood as the number one pick, while McLendon was a free agent. They formed an immediate friendship, the two always together, always in the weight room pushing themselves and working hard.

“I know he has my back,” said McLendon. “If I know one person has my back, we can go against many. It’s the same thing with the other guys, but everyone always sees Ziggy and I together. He was the first pick and I was the last guy to come in. We come from two different places. I watched his film before he even came here. He is the like a brother to me.

“In order to be great we have to separate from the rest. This game is about competition. We want to push each other to be great. I want to be great so bad, he does too. We both want to play for a long time. We push each other in everything. If you push each other you are only going to get the best out of each other.”

http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Coaches-have-confidence-in-McLendon/bf7f3fa7-2b00-4974-af1c-53b19b5fce12

ikestops85
07-11-2012, 05:12 PM
Will Steelers use Steve Mclendon like jay ratliff or he will be asked to take 2 blockers? I don't think Steve can take 2 blockers consistently like Casey but i think he will be a better player if he goes after the QB.

Casey took up 2 blockers because he was a master at holding. There, I said it. The Big Snack knew how to grab more body parts than a pro wrestler in a cage match. He was great at not letting the guards or center pull to make blocks which freed up our linebackers to make the tackle.

If McLendon learns the art of holding as well as Casey did then we will have another great nose tackle on our team. :tt1

Notleadpoisoned
07-11-2012, 08:06 PM
I thought McLendon revealed this offseason that he was now closer to 320 (even though he is still listed on the official roster as 280...much like Casey is still listed as 325 when he has been 350+ for years).

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/07/11/steelers-steve-mclendon-i-can-play-nose-tackle-at-280-pounds/

I read this story back in May on nfl.com and it says that McClendon is 6'4 325.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d82964380/article/steve-mclendon-could-start-at-dt-for-steelers

costanza2k1
07-11-2012, 08:13 PM
I read some tweets today from Wexell and a couple of other that said the Steelers never go back and adjust weights on any of the players, whatever they come in as is what stays with them until they are no longer Steelers.

steelz09
07-11-2012, 08:45 PM
I read some tweets today from Wexell and a couple of other that said the Steelers never go back and adjust weights on any of the players, whatever they come in as is what stays with them until they are no longer Steelers.

Yea, just like Hampton is 325.. lol

There is no way McLendon is 280. It's obvious just by seeing what he was when he entered the league and looking at him now.

RuthlessBurgher
07-11-2012, 11:32 PM
I read some tweets today from Wexell and a couple of other that said the Steelers never go back and adjust weights on any of the players, whatever they come in as is what stays with them until they are no longer Steelers.

Aaron Smith was listed as 6'5" 298 lbs., but coming out of Northern Colorado, he couldn't have been more than 270.

Oviedo
07-12-2012, 09:44 AM
Aaron Smith was listed as 6'5" 298 lbs., but coming out of Northern Colorado, he couldn't have been more than 270.

I think they have Kiesel listed at 285. He definitely looks bigger than that.

NorthCoast
07-12-2012, 12:05 PM
Yea, just like Hampton is 325.. lol

There is no way McLendon is 280. It's obvious just by seeing what he was when he entered the league and looking at him now.

yeah, if he is 280 I must 100 lbs (and according to my wife, I need to lose a few off that).

hawaiiansteel
08-06-2012, 08:21 PM
McLendon taking advantage of opportunity

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 5, 2012

As Casey Hampton continues to comeback from a knee injury that has him on the PUP list, third-year nose tackle Steve McLendon continues to work his tail off to prove he can step in if called upon.

“I am taking advantage of it every day,” said McLendon of getting the extra looks in practice. “One day at a time, one snap at a time, one play at a time. The only thing I can do is rise to the occasion.

“The coaches expect big things out of me and I expect big things out of myself. I look at it as an opportunity for a guy like myself to grow and be a great player in the future.”

So far McLendon is proving he can go at it with the big boys up front, even though he lacks the size for a prototypical nose tackle, but he also knows there is room for improvement.

“I am delivering some, but there is a lot of work to be done,” said McLendon. “I am a work in progress right now. Hopefully by the first preseason game, the end of the preseason, the first regular season game, I will be ready to contribute to the team no matter what my role is.”

And if injuries dictate that role is a starter, he will be ready.

“I am always ready to be a starter,” said McLendon. “I practice every day, go into every practice like I am a starter. I go into every practice like a starter because you never know when your name is going to be called.”

http://blog.steelers.com/2012/08/05/mclendon-taking-advantage-of-opportunity/

hawaiiansteel
08-08-2012, 03:07 PM
McLendon pumped for preseason

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 7, 2012

Nose tackle Steve McLendon is pumped for the preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night, ready to finally go against someone other than his Steelers teammates.

“It’s going to be exciting for me and the other guys,” said McLendon. “We have been seeing our teammates the last two weeks. Going out and hitting someone else is going to be fun.

“It’s going to be exciting. I am excited about the opportunity and I am going to take advantage of it.”

McLendon knows this will be the perfect chance for him to show what he can do with Casey Hampton still sidelined.

“I just want to show them I can get the job done, showcase my talent, play hard and smart,” said McLendon. “I feel more comfortable in the defense. It takes time in the defense. It’s hard to start or play much your first year. All I am going to do is play fast, hard and smart.”

http://blog.steelers.com/2012/08/07/mclendon-pumped-for-preseason/