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.”
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.
Originally Posted by grotonsteel
If McLendon learns the art of holding as well as Casey did then we will have another great nose tackle on our team. :tt1
I read this story back in May on nfl.com and it says that McClendon is 6'4 325.
Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
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
Originally Posted by costanza2k1
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.
Aaron Smith was listed as 6'5" 298 lbs., but coming out of Northern Colorado, he couldn't have been more than 270.
Originally Posted by costanza2k1
I think they have Kiesel listed at 285. He definitely looks bigger than that.
Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
yeah, if he is 280 I must 100 lbs (and according to my wife, I need to lose a few off that).
Originally Posted by steelz09
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.”
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.”