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Steelers NT Steve McLendon Could See More Time In Sub Packages In 2014


Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon played a career-high 355 snaps in his first full season as a starter last year, but that number figures to increase significantly if what defensive end Cameron Heyward said this past week comes to fruition.

“I think our nose tackles have to be ready to play in sub package this year,” said Heyward, according to Scott Brown of ESPN.com.

According to our 2013 charting project, there were 589 of 1,036 defensive plays run by the Steelers last season in which there were only two defensive linemen on the field. On only 37 of those plays was McLendon on the field.

Last offseason, McLendon stated that he hoped to become an every down player, but so far that hasn’t happened. The Steelers usually pull their nose tackle off the field when they roll out their sub packages and last season it was primarily Heyward, Ziggy Hood and Brett Keisel that made up the two defensive linemen that stayed on the field in those instances.

With Hood now gone and Keisel still unsigned, McLendon does indeed figure to see more playing time in sub packages this season even though Cam Thomas was signed during the offseason. Even if Keisel is ultimately re-signed, McLendon should still manage to see an increase in sub package snaps.

“Steve can rush, Cam can rush,” Heyward said, “and we’re looking for them to add more to this defense.”

Defensive Linemen Snaps With Two On Field

Player Snaps
Heyward 521
Hood 306
Keisel 243
Woods 64
McLendon 37
Fangupo 7

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Matt Manzo

    Makes sense! He seems built for it? Not big and slow!

  • steeltown

    I like it. McLendon moves well for a big man. Currently, if I had to pick 2DL players that I want on the field, it would be Heyward and McLendon

  • Jacque Strappe

    I really was hoping McLendon would be able to be moved to DT where I think he’s a better fit. Sure would be nice to have a Big Snack clone at nose. I’m not sold Cam Thomas is the answer at DT. Again, I sure hope I’m wrong.

  • charles

    Unfortunately, Mac got blown off the line of scrimmage too many times last year. He was a major reason that our D line gave up an uncharacteristically high yards per carry. Hood wasn’t much help either. Thomas as well doesn’t raise hopes of qb pressures. Therefore we need a minor miracle in the draft to get our Dline up tp playoff par

  • SteelersDepot

    This is false.

  • SteelersDepot

    McLendon was the NT on 208 running plays last season. 204 of those plays resulted in a 2.79 yards per carry average. The other four resulted in a 57.75 yards per carry average.Carry on with your witch hunt, though.

  • PA2AK

    Would be pretty wild to see some DT on the steelers roster! lol…i know what you meant just bustin stones.

  • PA2AK

    Most analysis says otherwise on who was the major reasons for the high ypc. Not saying he was a stalwart at NT, but he did fairly well playing through injury too.

  • Douglas Andrews

    We have to remember this was Big Mac’s first year starting so he should be even better this year.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    Only 2 reasons why it don’t happen, Lebeau and Mitchell.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    Sorry Charley, that tale don’t fly.

  • charles

    You still don’t understand. Good Dline play makes Richard Sherman an all pro. The stat that you should cite is 8-8. Not a surprise though. I was a fan of both Ziggy and Mac, unfortunately their performance disappointed. When one is not steeped in statistics, it occurs that maybe it is not the players, but instead the system. Think about it for a second, having 3 Dline “hold” their ground takes them out of the play especially if rushing the qb. Draw your own conclusions if you can…
    The Steelers desperately need Arnfeldt or Williams to break out or a draft choice with the impact of Poe. Then with Heyward the Dline becomes a force that allows Timmons et al to become Pro Bowl caliber once again.

  • charles

    Not sure what you mean here. Porter looks to be a great help for Mitchell. Otherwise we have finally seen Tomlin break with sentimentality by getting rid of Mr. Wilson, may he continue……
    reply to Dave above replies to tales that don’t fly as well.

  • PA2AK

    Exactly! I’d be surprise if he is ever as effective the same way Snack was. Mac brings different things to the position that we didn’t have before. He could very well turn out to be a solid player for us.

  • Xclewsive

    Ouch! Hahaha! This is classic!!!

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