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Steelers-Titans matchup of the week: McLendon vs. Titans OL

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon practices Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.

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Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, 11:03 p.m.

Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon has played his share of snaps over the past three years but finally will be the man in the middle this season in taking over for Casey Hampton. The Steelers have finished in the top five against the run eight of the past nine years.

Tennessee will test McLendon's run-stopping abilities with their newly acquired interior linemen of center Rob Turner and guards Chance Warmack and Andy Levitre.

McLendon: He has one career start and performed well while filling in for Hampton at Arizona two years ago. McLendon isn't as big as Hampton and will be the center of attention when it comes to Tennessee trying to run the ball. McLendon, an undrafted free agent out of Troy, didn't play more than 17 snaps in any game last season. He never has played more than 35 snaps in a game over his career.

Warmack, Levitre, Turner: The Titans did a lot in the offseason to improve a porous offensive line that allowed the second-most sacks in 2012. Warmack was a first-round pick, and Levitre signed a six-year, $46.8 million deal. Add veteran center Turner to the mix from St. Louis, and the Titans surely plan to use running back Chris Johnson more between the tackles.

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