A solution to lack of defensive line depth is to keep Steve McLendon on the field

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

There will be new faces along the defensive starting lineup next season but Cam Heyward expects a bigger role from a fellow returning starter.

Steelers nose tackleSteve McLendon will be looking at an increased workload in his second season as a starter on the Steelers defense.

Following a season in which the Steelers finished in the bottom third of the league in sacks, 2013 breakout defensive end Cam Hayward looks for Steve McLendon to have a bigger role, according to a report from ESPN reporter Scott Brown.

"I think our nose tackles have to be ready to play in the sub package this year," Heyward told Brown. "Steve can rush, Cam can rush, and we're looking for them to add more to this defense."

Traditionally, the Steelers nose tackles have been known more for their ability to stuff the run rather then rush the passer. The league is evolving however, the Steelers continued to utilize the sub packages more then ever last season, which is a trend that is likely to continue.

McLendon has often showed flashes of his pass rushing ability. If McLendon can realize his potential, and Heyward continues to grow beside him, the Steelers could be back among the leaders in sacks.

Veteran defensive end Brett Kiesel remains unsigned at the moment. In addition to Kiesel, the Steelers were unable to retain Ziggy Hood and Al Woods in free agency. Woods was often used in pass rushing situations next to Cam Heyward when the Steelers went to their sub packages last year.

With the lack of depth and experience on the defensive line , the time is now for McClendon to evolve into a leader on the defensive side of the ball.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker