Nose tackle Daniel McCullers will get his first NFL start on Monday night against the Tennessee Titans, something assistant head coach/defensive line John Mitchell shared during an interview with Steelers Nation Radio today. McCullers will start in place of Steve McLendon, who is still nursing a shoulder injury.
"He is going to start this week," said Mitchell. "He is excited about it. We are excited about it."
While McCullers wouldn't fully acknowledge he is starting, he seems prepared despite playing sparingly in only three games and being inactive for the other seven.
"We have to win it and I am ready to go," said McCullers, who played at the University of Tennessee. "My first NFL start, we'll see who starts. I need to continue to work during practice and work on my technique.
"I am getting ready. We have a long week ahead of us. A couple more practices here and there. We will just continue to work. We have a good game plan ahead of us and we'll continue to work and get better."
McCullers said he just has to keep working on his technique, which includes staying low, something that isn't easy when you are 6-7, 352 pounds.
"It's hard for me to do it," said McCullers. "I just have to bend. When I do it I can be pretty good. I have to continue to work on staying low, my technique. I am just working every day on staying low, using my hands, learning the system, plays to be in the right place at the right time. I feel like I am doing pretty good."
McLendon has worked with McCullers all season, and feels good about what the rookie can bring to the defense.
"You can't move him. He is way bigger than most guys," said McLendon. "That is going to help if they try to run the ball downhill on us. Double teams won't be able to move him. He has strong hands and long arms. He just has to keep doing the little things, pad level, quick hands and make sure he is moving his feet and run to the ball.
"The biggest thing I can give to him is just play for 60 minutes. No matter if you mess up, just play hard. Have more energy than the guy across from you. You are going to be nervous, but once he settles down he is going to play really well. I have faith in Dan he can step in and get the job done."