Steelers Film Breakdown: Steve McLendon is who we think he is

Jared Wickerham

With apologies to Denny Green, recent film study confirmed something that a lot of people have been thinking. When given the opportunity, Steve McLendon has been pretty good.

You hear stories all the time about how coaches and or scouts are watching film on one guy, and someone else keeps grabbing your attention.

I had that same experience with McLendon. When given the opportunity, he just makes plays.

That's the logical reason behind why the Steelers signed McLendon to a three-year contract after tagging him with a low-round tender in restricted free agency. The Packers helped that by allegedly having McLendon in for a visit recently.

Based on the film we reviewed, the Packers were smart to bring him in. And the Steelers were even smarter to sign him to that contract.

Whatever reason McLendon didn't play much in the past, he produces when he's on the field. It's as simple as that. I tried to find three plays that show the skill set and the versatility of McLendon.

Play 1

Mclendon_medium

via assets.sbnation.com

In the Ziggy Hood article, I mentioned how Hood lacked explosiveness. Well, with McLendon, you get explosiveness. Moreover, you see McLendon never stop moving his hands and his feet. That is really the key to a successful pass rush. You just need to keep working.

Play 2

Mclendon2_medium

via assets.sbnation.com

You hear all the time how a nose tackle in a 3-4 has to occupy two blockers. If the center climbs too quickly to the second level, as Birk does here, the nose tackle has to make the play. McLendon does, and he makes it one yard in the backfield. McLendon keeps his shoulders square and moves down the line; thus, it is impossible for the guard to cut him. Also, watch Leach, one of the better fullbacks in the NFL, get buckled when he hits McLendon. He just stops. McLendon is a big, strong dude.

Play 3

Mclendon3_medium

via assets.sbnation.com

A lot of people thought that McLendon would have problems holding the point of attack. What's really interesting about this play is watch the right guard. See how he uses his right shoulder when trying to chip McLendon. That is not what he is taught. You need to keep your shoulders square when chipping on a double team. If you don't stay square, you can't get to the linebacker.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that the center asked for some more help with McLendon. Still, McLendon doesn't give an inch on this play. Polamalu is flying off of the edge. Thus, the line is slanting away from him. Even though McLendon is being pushed in the direction that he is slanting, he is able to anchor very well.

I have no idea why McLendon did not play more. It would be great if the people who are in the South Side every day (yeah I'm looking at you Bouchette) would maybe, you know, ask around and try to find out. I was more impressed with McLendon on film than I was Hampton. I'm very excited about his potential.

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