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Thread: Stopping the Run

  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keyplay1 View Post
    Couldn't agree more. And also with the thread consensus of how vital the NT is. But, where was everyone when the board in general was pooh-poohing the drafting of one real high the past several years?
    For me, I was hoping McClendon was the answer. Plus putting a first rounder into a 2 down player is never ideal. But, after seeing this D without Hampton, it's obvious the NT is a HUGE problem.

  2. #42

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    I'd say it's a given that the Bills are going to try to run the ball against the Steelers. They have decent backs and a rookie QB that's seeing his first action in several weeks.

  3. #43
    Pro Bowler

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    I don't think McClendon is that bad a player. I was glad we got rid of Casey. I loved him during his heyday and jumped up and down over his Eddie George hit. but come on, how many years can we depend on a guy? Yes a good NT is key to a good 3-4, I get it blah blah blah. I thought Ta'amu was a good replacement.. Maybe its Fangupo. Can't blame the FO for trying because you're frustrated the players are not a direct replacement for fat old Hampton. we drafted hood and heyward. FO drafted Hood and Heyward. They have their agenda. I loved Big Snack but I'm not dialing his cell every time the D gives up a certain number of yards per carry. Great players come and go, get over it.

  4. #44

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    They looked good against Spiller and Jackson today...

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slapstick View Post
    They looked good against Spiller and Jackson today...
    Looked like they tackled better. There were still a few plays where some guys missed some tackles, but far fewer than we've seen recently.

  6. #46

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    The biggest rushing gain was 9 yards...that's much better than what we've seen...

  7. #47

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    No quit in Steelers nose tackle McLendon

    By Mark Kaboly
    Published: Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013

    Steve McLendon's season hasn't gone as he envisioned.

    Trusted to replace nose tackle Casey Hampton, McLendon has been singled out — even by himself — as the reason the Steelers' once-stout run defense has struggled, and that was before being slowed by a sprained ankle over the past month.

    But that hardly counts as adversity considering what McLendon went through a couple of years ago.

    Then a strapping 21-year-old with thoughts of making his junior season at Troy his last before turning pro, McLendon paid no mind to that fact he had not felt well. It was the flu, he told himself. At worst, it was pneumonia.

    Both could have been reasonable explanations.

    There were several consecutive unusually cold days during the spring that year in the South, and McLendon refused to wear anything but shorts. When he finally was told he had pneumonia, it made sense.

    Surely pneumonia was why he had a little lump on his neck, too. Either that or it was a side effect of hitting the weights hard that year , or so he was told.

    “Honestly, I just thought I wasn't taking care of myself,” McLendon said.

    He was in for a surprise when he went to have the lump checked.

    Major scare

    McLendon walked through the Montgomery Cancer Center not far from his Ozark, Ala., home with his mother, Cynthia, in horror.

    A biopsy on the lump revealed Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system.

    “I was devastated,” McLendon recalled.

    But not satisfied with the diagnosis. With the pneumonia that slowed him gone and McLendon once again feeling strong, he refused to believe he had cancer.

    McLendon never will forget a consultation with the oncologist at the cancer center, where he walked through a room of cancer patients who were undergoing chemotherapy.

    That's when McLendon reached his breaking point.

    “I know I disappointed my mama that day, but we walked into the back and I said to the doctor that I don't have what they say I have,” McLendon said. “I said, ‘Mama, let's go.' She said to just give it a chance. I said, ‘Listen, I don't have this. Look at these people. These people are sick. Do I look like that?' I said let's go, and we left.”

    McLendon walked out not knowing what the next move would be.

    It didn't take long for him to seek more answers. The family made the three-hour trip north to Birmingham, Ala., to get a second opinion. McLendon had one biopsy done then another.

    The results came back negative both times.

    “It was a relief,” McLendon said. “I knew I didn't have it. I felt great, but it opened my eyes. I was playing football my entire life, and I thought it was all going away just like that. It was just God trying to get my attention. I was probably doing some things or going down a path that he didn't see fit for me.”

    It took a few months to work himself back into football shape, but McLendon started the season-opener at Arkansas and collected four tackles against the Darren McFadden and Felix Jones-led Razorbacks.

    “That entire ordeal was like a nightmare … it was horrible,” McLendon said.

    McLendon would have two more biopsies: once before the draft and one with the Steelers.

    Both came back cancer-free.

    Back to football

    McLendon was used to getting that dreaded call telling him thanks, but no thanks. It happened plenty during his first couple of years in the league.

    After not being drafted following a nondescript senior season at Troy, the Steelers liked McLendon's potential enough to sign him as a free agent and invite him to training camp.

    Whatever the reasons, McLendon never was good enough to stick around, but he always was good enough not to stay away long.

    McLendon was released five times in his first 18 months in the NFL, including three times in 33 days during his second year with the Steelers.

    “But they always told him to not go anywhere,” said guard Ramon Foster, who roomed with McLendon that first year.

    McLendon found himself back with the team time and again.

    He never spent more than seven consecutive days unemployed.

    Don't think that getting cut all those times didn't have an effect.

    It did, and Foster saw it firsthand.

    “The Steve that you know now is not the Steve that came into the league in 2009,” Foster said. “He was a nervous wreck kind of guy. He was always worried about the little things.”

    Being cut so many times will do that.

    “That's what you think about all the time,” McLendon said. “It is something that never makes you comfortable. ... I feel like my job is on the line every day. I know I need to get over that and just go out there and play football, but I know it is tough because I know the road I had to take to get to this point.”


  8. #48

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    Good article on McLendon; I like his work ethic, his approach, his effort. That said, I agree he'd likely make a better DE for us. So, a short run-plugger? D. Shelton, 3rd Round pick this year. Let's face it--with the re-birth of high octane passing in the league, run-stuffing is at most a two-down proposition.

  9. #49

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    McClendon is a very good football player who I believe has a long Steelers career ahead of him - at defensive end. He is simply miscast as a 3 - 4 NT. It's a frequent refrain of mine here that his tenure at the position reminds me of Kimo von Oelhoffen's in 2000. The team had Joel Steed there forever before him, and Casey after him, so we don't particularly remember that brief period.

    What we lost track of in the whole discussion of a passing league in my opinion is the fact that defense isn't an either/or proposition. You have to do both. If you don't stop the run, you won't have to worry about playing pass D, because everybody (except for Dallas) will just go ahead and beat your brains in on the ground.


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