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Kaboly: McLendon on ‘D’ struggling: “I don’t see much change besides me.”


Mark Kaboly  | Tribune-Review


The Steelers just don’t allow teams to run the ball against them.


Check that: The Steelers used to not allow teams to run the ball against them.


Through the first quarter of the season, teams are seemingly running at will against the Steelers, averaging nearly 38 yards more per game than the entire Dick LeBeau-era (2004-present) combined.


The Steelers currently rank 25th against stopping the run giving up 122.8 yards per game. Since LeBeau’s return in 2004, the Steelers have never finished lower than eighth against the run. In 2010, they allowed an almost-record 62.8 yards per game on the ground.


So who’s to blame for their failures this year?


Nose tackle Steve McLendon didn’t necessarily say he is the main culprit, but he knows what it looks like from the outside being the new starter at the position that’s main job is to stop the run.


“I have been on a couple of teams here that have been ranked No. 1 or at least top five in the run,” McLendon said. “It’s bad. It’s bad. It makes me feel extremely bad because I don’t see much change besides me. That’s one of the toughest things. Just being able to watch Casey (Hampton) last year do it for so many years and I come in and my first year as a starter and seems like we can’t stop the run.”


Make no mistake about it, McLendon isn’t the one to blame.


The reason why the Steelers are so poor statistically against the run is because of big plays – 55 yards by Matt Forte and 60 yards by Adrian Peterson – that occurred by missed tackles that didn’t include McLendon.


If you take those two plays away and the Steelers are averaging 94 yards per game, which would rank them seventh in the NFL.


“I am not really blaming myself but I am taking ownership that I have to play better,” McLendon said. “I just have to grow up and play the game I am capable of playing.”


Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that the arrow is pointing up when it comes to McLendon.


“He’s had some positive plays and I think he’s had some plays that he’d like back, like all of us,” Tomlin said. “I like where he is. We expect him to continue to grow and get better into the position. The ar


Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly is the Pittburgh Steelers beat writer for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 300 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as three Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa and XLV in Dallas. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer; daughter Briella; and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug


  1. John says:

    Steelers have done some bad personnel decisions this year. First why couldn’t they tell in training camp and even going back to last year Adams was not ready to start at offensive tackle and had to trade for one recently. Release Dwyer only to re-sign him mainly because of injuries but what has Redman proven thus far. Granted the line play has been bad but Redman had fumbled a lot. They sign a back-up center who my understanding was released by Tampa Bay. Then when Pouncey had the season ending injury they sign Velasco who was one of final cuts by Tennessee. Velasco has played well, but why wasn’t he signed ahead of the center from Tampa Bay? Next and last one is re-signing linebacker Slyvester when he was cut instead of linebacker Kion Wilson who in turn was cut recently. All these moves are very un-Steeler like. Used to be we had good back-ups. Now the starters are not good and the back-ups are worse. This is one of the reasons why they are in last place in the weak AFC North. Forget about being only two games or so out of first place, they are a bad team. Until they start playing better even in losses I have given up on them this year. The entire league minus a few teams is weak this year.

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