Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Monday during his press conference that he hasn\’t put nose tackle Steve McLendon in a box as it relates to the former undrafted player saying last week that he wants to be an every-down player in his first season as a starter.
However, If Tomlin was going to try to put McLendon in a box this season, it appears as though he would need a smaller one this year compared to last year as Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh-Tribune-Review reports that McLendon said on Tuesday, he now weighs 320 pounds, which is 15 pounds lighter than the 335 pounds he weighed in 2012.
Despite the want to be an every-down player, McLendon made it sound on Tuesday as if the coaching staff still isn\’t ready for him to stay on the field on third downs just yet.
“I tell them not to take that pass rush from me because I can do that, I can rush the passer,” McLendon said. “I tell (defensive line coach John Mitchell) that all the time, but he won\’t let me.”
While McLendon saw 139 snaps worth of playing time last year as the backup to Casey Hampton, only a few of them came on third downs when the Steelers utilized their nickel package, as starting defensive ends Ziggy Hood and Brett Keisel were the two defensive linemen that primarily stayed on the field during those downs.
McLendon, however, has seen some snaps at defensive end in the Steelers base 3-4 defense over the course of the last two seasons, but it appears that his main focus in 2013 will be to plug the middle on first and second downs.
Being as the Steelers usually use their nickel package roughly 50% of the time over the course of a season, McLendon can probably expect to see around 500 snaps of playing time on defense in 2013.
As far as his weight goes, McLendon is still listed on the Steelers official website at 280 pounds and last week he said that\’s perfectly fine with him, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“Leave it at 280; that\’s what\’s going to fool everybody,” said McLendon.