Breakdown Of Steelers NT Steve McLendon Versus Ravens

By Alex Kozora

Breakdown of all defensive snaps from Pittsburgh Steelers mose tackle Steve McLendon against the Baltimore Ravens.


First Drive

Snaps: 1

Run/Rush: 0/1


1. 1st and 10, 12:25 1st. Lined up as the one technique (shaded on either side of the center). Bull rush, walking Gino Gradkowski into the pocket. Joe Flacco on three step drop so ball comes out quick and McClendon not able to get pressure.

Second Drive

Snaps: 1

Run/Rush: 1/0


1. 3rd and 1, :50 1st. One tech, shaded playside. Wrote about this play in my breakdown. Gradkowski can’t reach block on the zone scheme and McClendon gets penetration, helping on the tackle and blowing the 3rd down up. He’s tough to defend on stretch plays.



Third Drive

Snaps: 3

Run/Rush: 2/1


1. 1st and 10, 6:57 2nd. Team was in dime for all three of these plays with McClendon one of two lineman. Lined up as the weak one tech. Base blocked by Kelechi Osemele and frontside lineman Gino Gradkowski ends up doubling him on a zone block (not a coincidence after what McClendon did previous play, I’m sure). Ray Rice does gain 13 on the play.McClendon1


2. 1st and 10, 6:23. Playside one tech. Bullrushes Gradkowski, shows good arm extension and strength, keeps his legs moving, and walks him back.

3. 2nd and 10, 6:19. Almost head up on the playside guard (not using Coaches Film so little tough to judge it). Solo block by Osemele who executes a good reach block, seals McClendon to the outside, and keeps his legs moving to push the defensive lineman out of the play.



Fourth Drive

Snaps: 4

Run/Rush: 3/1


1. 1st and 10, 2:56 3rd. One tech, even front by Baltimore. Backside guard on this run (Marshal Yanda) does a nice job of getting to him on the reach block. But that’s why he’s one of the better guards in the league.

2. 2nd and 10, 2:22. Weak 1. Initially rushes free with the Ravens occupied by a blitzing Vince Williams but they adjust, pass off correctly, and the guard picks up McClendon.

3. 3rd and 1, 15:00 4th. FB dive by Vonta Leach. McClendon dives, takes out Gradkowski but doesn’t factor in on the play.

4. 4th and 1, 14:28. As pointed out in the breakdown, McClendon turned on Flacco QB sneak. Tough play but needs to stay square, take up as much space as possible.


Fifth Drive

Snaps: 8

Run/Rush: 2/5


1. 1st and 10, 9:53 4th. Playside one. Double-teamed on Ravens run. Holds his own, shows muscle, and doesn’t get washed.

2. 2nd and 4, 9:30. Weak one. Bull rush but double-teamed with the Steelers only bringing four so he doesn’t get pressure.

3. 1st and 10, 7:03 4th. Playside one. Initially run off the line by Gradkowski but able to shed and make the tackle.


4. 2nd and 6, 6:37. Playside one. Bull rush, slowly walking Gradkowski into the pocket (less prominently so than the other two). Puts arm up when Flacco goes to throw but doesn’t bat it down.

5. 3rd and 1, 4:40. Weak one. Bootleg, not involved in the play.

6. 1st and GL, 2:39. Playaction, not much doing again.

7. 2nd and GL, 2:34. In goalline package. Fights through the backside guard’s cut block, forces Rice to cut and makes the tackle.

8. 3rd and GL, 2:02. Goalline package. Bootleg. Not much to say.


Snaps: 17

Run/Rush: 8/8

With the team playing so much subpackage football (51/65 plays) it was tough for McClendon to log snaps. Only on three plays did he play in subpackage, all coming in the third drive. But I have him for seven clearly positive plays so not a bad percentage. Still some negative plays and technique work (staying square to the ball still an issue) and it’s obvious he does a lot better working against angles than he does against power schemes, but overall, it’s hard to complain about his play the first half of the year.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • chris ward

    McLendon has great lateral movement. Tough to block when running a zone scheme.

  • Bell Cow

    I think he’d be a great DE. I’m just not sure he has the power to anchor the middle like Casey Hampton did.

  • Xclewsive

    Casey Hampton is a fossil and for today’s NFL is phased out. There aren’t many players if any like Hampton anymore.

  • Shea Fahr

    I agree. Hampton will go down as one of the Best All Time 3-4 NT’s in my book for sure.

  • Bell Cow

    Disagree. If they’re going to continue running the 34 they’ll need a stout NT to absorb blocks and free up the linebackers. Those type of players do exist (Worfolk, Poe, Raji, Peko).

  • Virdin Barzey

    Yeah but they are very hard to come by. In the meantime, I like Mclendon until we do.

  • Johnny Loose

    I said the other day I’d like to see Pittsburgh draft a TE early. If there were a clear cut early round NT prospect, I think that would be an awesome pick. Think if we were able to land a first round or early second round NT, develop him, and then bump Mclendon to DE opposite of Cam. That would be a nasty defensive front..

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I agree, McLendon just isn’t stout enough as a NT for us. He did well last year coming in fresh for a play or two subbing for Hampton but he cannot handle full time duty. Not sure there is a great NT in this years draft.

  • Xclewsive

    I agree that those NT/DT mentioned are geared towards stopping the run. Hampton and the Steelers were synonymous with stopping the run. Can’t say I can say that about any other NT/DT in the league.

  • Bell Cow

    Too early to talk draft, but Nix for Notre Dame or Hageman from Minnesota are beast at NT. Both are supposed to be first round picks. Watch one of their games sometime and look at all the double and triple blockers it takes to contain them.

  • lefnor

    Louis Nix would be a perfect pick to be the next great run stuffing NT and McLendon could move to his natural LDE spot.

    Unfortunately the LT position is a greater need right now, but imo Tomlin won’t give up on Adams after 2 year.