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McClain seems above it all

We begin to discover what Rolando McClain is all about in less than a week.

McClain hasn’t had much to say since the beginning of training camp, and declined interview requests with the local media since Aug 1, unusual in that rookies are usually agreeable and in some cases eager to talk about their new life as an NFL player.

He’s been a hard guy to read, self-confident to the point of being aloof. There have been first-round draft picks in past years _ Napoleon Harris and Phillip Buchanon come to mind in 2002 _ who enter the league and conduct themselves as if they’ve got it all figured out.

The difference between McClain and those two is that he had such a good training ground at Alabama as well as an appetite for work study that his confidence is probably more well-founded than delusional.

McClain said it’s not in his personality to be overly impressed with his success or devastated by adversity.

“It’s just me, it’s just my demeanor. I’m the quarterback of the defense,” McClain said. “I can’t really get too high or too low about a lot of things. I’ve got to keep my composure.

“There’s 10 other guys out there waiting on me to be calm, because there’s a lot of things that go on, out there, different shifts, a lot of motions and I have to do my part of taking care of that and getting everybody else lined up, so I’ve just got to be composed.”

It’s clear McClain is convinced the NFL isn’t all that great a leap from playing for a Southeastern Conference champion and national champion at Alabama, where he said he practiced against a Heisman Trophy winner (Mark Ingram) every day. He shrugged off training camp as being no more demanding and difficult than anything he experienced in college.

Shifting from a 3-4 inside linebacker to 4-3 in the middle? Yawn. The only difference is now he doesn’t have a lineman directly in front of him.

It’s not as if McClain set the NFL on its ear during the preseason. He was taken out of an 89-yard run by Chicago center Olin Kreutz against the Bears and found himself locked up on more than one occasion by rookie guard Mike Iupati against the 49ers.

He almost looks a little on the slim side in the upper body to be a middle linebacker at 6-foot-4 and listed at 255 pounds. He’s also played only the equivalent of a little more than a single game of preseason football, so the sample size is much to small to draw any conclusions as to how he might fare.

McClain laughs at the thought of being affected by the heat of Nashville, having been born and raised in Alabama, and chides his teammates for mentioning the heat on warm Bay Area days in the absence of southern humidity.

One thing he does have is a healthy dose of respect for is Tennessee running back Chris Johnson, He invokes his conference pride by saying he’s played against the best backs in the country in the SEC, but then it’s clear he is well into his film work on the Titans offense.

“Every back in the NFL is great or they wouldn’t be here, but this guy, he’s extraordinary to say the least,” McClain said. “We’re going to have our hands full but we’re up to the job. We’ve just got to do our best containing the guy and try to stop some of those long runs.”

In one breath, McClain says his daily practices as Darren McFadden help prepare him for Johnson (keep in mind the Raiders don’t tackle at practice), but he seems to have a veteran’s grasp of the challenge before him.

“You really can’t practice for a guy like that, you just have to contain him,” McClain said. “Try to force everything back inside, or force him to the outside where hopefully he can run out of bounds. You give him an angle, he can outrun angles.

“He can do anything that you don’t think a running back should be able to do. He can do it, so we just have to stop the long runs. He’s going to get 2 or 3, maybe 5, but we just have to be consistent in stopping that and not let him get the 81-yard runs. That’s what will kill a team.”

More news and notes to come following press briefing with coach Tom Cable . . .

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • CRACKRAIDER

    1st GO RAIDERS!!!

  • edward teach

    Above it all. Right. He’d rather play football than talk to the media and all of a sudden he has an attitude.

    Look for Mr. McClain to be nitpicked for the rest of the year.

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  • No Limit Raider

    stop the run: win the game!!!

  • PurpleDrank81

    Wow what do you know a guy who would rather play football than talk to the media…The man wants to live up his hype

  • supapimp

    Defense wins championships

  • http://www.nataliegulbis.com Richochet

    Rumor is Farve’s ankle is hurting…kicking the whole state of Louisiana’s ass, over and over, tends to do that to ya..

  • crister

    “I can’t really get too high or too low about a lot of things. I’ve got to keep my composure.“

    dear god… i just got flashbacks of a 300 pound former raider qb.

  • Violent Hands

    Give the kid a break Jerry you start worrying if he shows up wearing furs

  • PurpleDrank81

    I cant wait until Sunday

  • http://www.tedhendricks.com/Ted_vs_Montana.jpg BigTed707

    Rolando’s attitude is fine – as long as he does his job.
    Success is when luck meets preparation, and it seems like preparation is his strength.

    Hit the weights Romac – ya can’t be all brain and no brawn.

    Gotta’ get on that Shawn Merriman Regimen. (jk)

    I agree on what he said about containing CJ2K, and not giving up the big gains, but it would be even better if Big Richard and the Front Four could get a push on the line, and we could blow up some plays in the back-field.

    Go Raiders (1-0)!

  • priesttj

    Edward Teach

    My thoughts exactly, but most peple in here buy everything Jerry sells. They just turned on the kid after one article.
    MCClain is going to be one the biggest assets for this team. If they make the Playoffs it will be largely due to his efforts.

  • chargerschoke

    NFL players are crooks, if they underperform they refuse pay cuts and demand their contracts be honored, if they overperform they don’t honor their contract and hold out, I’ll be glad when the owners wake up and hold out, these higher and higher contracts are only costing us fans more money, crappy seating prices, outrageous concession prices, league demands more money from networks, networks demand more money from advertisers , advertisers pass their higher costs to the consumers=fans. Lockout year please!

  • http://www.tedhendricks.com/Ted_vs_Montana.jpg BigTed707

    # crister Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    “I can’t really get too high or too low about a lot of things. I’ve got to keep my composure.“

    dear god… i just got flashbacks of a 300 pound former raider qb.
    __________________
    Russell didn’t get too low on things – Getting too high was never his problem.

  • itzSteve

    # BigTed707 Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    # crister Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    “I can’t really get too high or too low about a lot of things. I’ve got to keep my composure.“

    dear god… i just got flashbacks of a 300 pound former raider qb.
    __________________
    Russell didn’t get too low on things – Getting too high was never his problem.

    _______________________________

    and the fact that you would never see a sentence with Russell and film study…

  • HairyBush

    Russell didn’t get too low on things – Getting too high was never his problem.
    ——————-
    lol

  • HairyBush

    Lockout year please!
    ———————–
    no thanx!

  • itzSteve

    # chargerschoke Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    NFL players are crooks, if they underperform they refuse pay cuts and demand their contracts be honored, if they overperform they don’t honor their contract and hold out, I’ll be glad when the owners wake up and hold out, these higher and higher contracts are only costing us fans more money, crappy seating prices, outrageous concession prices, league demands more money from networks, networks demand more money from advertisers , advertisers pass their higher costs to the consumers=fans. Lockout year please!

    _______________________

    but you need to consider the fact that NFL salaries are not guaranteed. An owner can release a player at any time and the only money the team loses is the signing bonus. Holding out is the players only leverage against the owners.

  • Twocents

    I have always found Labor Day depressing.

    It signals the end of Summer and the beginning of another dreary year of State indoctrination for the children.

    It actually should be called “Forced Labor Day” so the peasants can be thankful that they only have to work until June before they get to keep some of the fruits of their labor.

    Sure, it signals the beginning of football season but it is also when AD is at the height of his meddling.

    All in all, no reason to celebrate anything.

  • priesttj

    If MBush can go for us, it changes everything we can then play a more physcal style of football instead of just fastbreak wide open style. We can actually pound them pretty good once we have a good lead.

  • http://www.tedhendricks.com/Ted_vs_Montana.jpg BigTed707

    # chargerschoke Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    NFL players are crooks, if they underperform they refuse pay cuts and demand their contracts be honored, if they overperform they don’t honor their contract and hold out, I’ll be glad when the owners wake up and hold out, these higher and higher contracts are only costing us fans more money, crappy seating prices, outrageous concession prices, league demands more money from networks, networks demand more money from advertisers , advertisers pass their higher costs to the consumers=fans. Lockout year please!
    ____________
    Interesting take Choke. I disagree that ALL NFL players are crooks – but guys like Russell, Revis, Crabtree, ect., are definitely a big problem.

    The NFL should take a note from the Cable playbook and instate a “No K’Nuckleheads” Policy.

  • chargerschoke

    There’s still the issue of higher costs for fans, that can’t be resolved ever for fans due to the overall greedy nature of the NFL and it’s players!

  • El Tato

    Huge rookie contracts do not good to the league, only proven veterans should be able to get those money, not 21 years-old kids who think they doesnt have to perform because they alredy have the money.

    If you look back the last 10 years draft, 7 out of the first 10 players selected every year are either busts or are out of the league in less than 4 years.

  • http://www.tedhendricks.com/Ted_vs_Montana.jpg BigTed707

    # priesttj Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    If MBush can go for us, it changes everything we can then play a more physcal style of football instead of just fastbreak wide open style. We can actually pound them pretty good once we have a good lead.
    __________________
    I hope we can do it without relying on Bush too much. It’s a long season, and I’d like to see his hand get better with minimal risk to it getting worse. Y’know when he’s out there, the opponents will be gunning for that thumb – if someone puts a helmet on it, that could be bad.

    Bennett and DMAC can get it done imo.

  • edward teach

    Priest,

    I agree with you. We both know he’s going to make his share of mistakes, but he’s a rookie. They all do, but coming from where he comes from and knowing how he was coached and how hard he prepares, it seems like he’ll be a quick study.

    What Jerry and some others may not be cosidering is that, in the state of Alabama, Crimson Tide football is BIGGER than the NFL. Hell, he played in front of larger crowds at Alabama (and with more pressure) than he will at some NFL games this year.

    He was the captain of the best defense in the country last year, was coached by an NFL-caliber defensive mind and won a national championship at a school that has more tradition than half of the franchises in the NFL. He’s not some wide-eyed rookie that’s just happy to have made the squad. He’s not above it all, it’s just not as big a step for him as it is for some other guys just getting to the league and he just seems pretty nonplussed about it. Which is fine by me.

  • severeraiderz

    Chargerschoke Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 3:04 pm
    NFL players are crooks, if they underperform they refuse pay cuts and demand their contracts be honored, if they overperform they don’t honor their contract and hold out, I’ll be glad when the owners wake up and hold out, these higher and higher contracts are only costing us fans more money, crappy seating prices, outrageous concession prices, league demands more money from networks, networks demand more money from advertisers , advertisers pass their higher costs to the consumers=fans. Lockout year please!
    ////////////////////////////////////

    Lol you side against the guys that don’t have guranteed contracts and who have an average career length of about 5 years!? If a player under performs he is cut, if he overperforms he is locked into a contract that he has outplayed and that is unguranteed playing with the fear that at anytime he can get hurt and released. In a tug of war you take the side of billionaires who made billions in businesses outside of the NFL as opposed to the millionaire athelete who knows no other way to make a living than doing what they have been trained to do since before adolesence.

  • Raiders for life

    I wanna see Rolo tear CJ’s head off.

  • severeraiderz

    Lol players want more money so the owners increase ticket prices to keep their own profits high. Chargerschoke wants the players to take a paycut and not the owners. This is classic republican stuff here. Repubs are idiots and dems are weak…..rock, meet hard place.

  • noteasilyimpressed

    don’t hope to contain; play defense to STOP the run.

  • Nnamdi21

    I’d prefer to actually see Rolando play first before judging him.

    Not liking the media is a plus in my book…no offense Jerry…

  • http://www.tedhendricks.com/Ted_vs_Montana.jpg BigTed707

    Not liking the media is a plus in my book…no offense Jerry…
    __________________
    yep, but hope he warms up to the fans.

  • RaiderSam

    McClain sounds like someone about to get a big wake up call…im unimpressed…Michael Mitchell has hit harder

  • severeraiderz

    What Jerry and some others may not be cosidering is that, in the state of Alabama, Crimson Tide football is BIGGER than the NFL. Hell, he played in front of larger crowds at Alabama (and with more pressure) than he will at some NFL games this year.
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////’
    I doubt that he will play in front of a larger crowd until we make it to the superbowl. Some of these college stadiums hold 90k +

  • silverback

    Post #26- Not to mention the owners are subsidized by the tax payers with new stadium deals using public money.

  • http://Noknuckleheads! 909RaiderLifer

    Jerry Mac….

    Since Al has dropped the Cone Of Silence over Harbor Bay Pkwy, a name change may be in order for your blog, how about:

    “On the outside, looking in on the Oakland Raiders.”

  • silverback

    Lurked for years.

    Favorite Hater- RMR
    Favorite Bullies-Norco Bob, Brien
    Favorite Knowledge-C.O.W., Dell

  • 8RaiderReign8

    FML … I scheduled a presentation at church (for the kids) the same day as the game. Salvation or Raider Nation? What do I choose?

  • http://Noknuckleheads! 909RaiderLifer

    That poor Goethel kid, having to be looking over his shoulder for one of Al’s lackeys, when he gets cornered by the media hacks, hoping he doesn’t get caught. (which he does.)

    Now he’ll probably have to polish Al’s golf cart, whenever he heals up from the big mystery injury…

  • 8RaiderReign8

    I think McClain is of the correct mindset. He hasn’t done anything yet. Who knows? He probably wants to have game 1 speak fo itself. I don’t mind. Media types like Jerry might, but I can understand cuz it takes food from his mouth. We will know so much by the bye week. Maybe too much. Maybe not enough?

  • Kirk

    My idea of hell is going to church.

    A guy who would rather play football than talk to the media?

    He certainly isn’t a wide receiver!

  • http://www.tedhendricks.com/Ted_vs_Montana.jpg BigTed707

    Was Al C-blocked by the Chargers in trying to make the V. Jackson trade?

    I wonder where he will end up, and for what price.

  • Carl Weathers

    How fitting that a team with a young hungry defense, a team that hasn’t stopped the run in about 7 years, goes up against the best RB in football to start the year.
    If Eugene is back there at safety, I sure hope Rolando shines.

  • 8RaiderReign8

    I’ve heard a lot things about this safety position. I have a couple questions and observations.

    1. Can Al play SB less for playing on the
    Practice squad?

    2. If the former is true, could al have been smart to risk SB clearing waivers?

    3. Can al bring up SB later after he has time to develop?

    If you look at these questions I think you’ll weenie wasn’t that bad of a decision.

  • ohioraider

    # priesttj Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    If MBush can go for us, it changes everything we can then play a more physcal style of football instead of just fastbreak wide open style. We can actually pound them pretty good once we have a good lead.
    ****************************************************
    Hahahahahahahahahah! Dude, you never fail to crack me up with your unwarranted optimism. What big lead are you referring to? You’ve got to be on crazy Uncle Al’s payroll, right? C’mon and let us in on the joke.

  • 8RaiderReign8

    Pay*

  • 8RaiderReign8

    8RaiderReign8 Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 4:34 pm
    I’ve heard a lot things about this safety position. I have a couple questions and observations.

    1. Can Al pay SB less for playing on the
    Practice squad?

    2. If the former is true, could al have been smart to risk SB clearing waivers?

    3. Can al bring up SB later after he has time to develop?

    If you look at these questions I think you’ll see it wasn’t that bad of a decision. Sorry for the poor typing

  • RaiderFanFromJersey

    BigTed707 Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 3:22 pm
    # priesttj Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    If MBush can go for us, it changes everything we can then play a more physcal style of football instead of just fastbreak wide open style. We can actually pound them pretty good once we have a good lead.
    __________________
    I hope we can do it without relying on Bush too much. It’s a long season, and I’d like to see his hand get better with minimal risk to it getting worse. Y’know when he’s out there, the opponents will be gunning for that thumb – if someone puts a helmet on it, that could be bad.

    Bennett and DMAC can get it done imo.

    ——————————————

    Im not so confident in Bennet & DMac holdin down in Bush’s absence but I do agree that we shouldn’t rush him back. He’s a physical runner & what no one has mentioned yet is that even if he’s holding the ball in his right hand, the off hand is the one used for the stiff arm which he uses very well. I, for one am not comfortable with his very valuable thumb out there fending off oncoming defenders. It’s just not a good idea, from what I’ve read about Bennett’s fractures, to rush the recovery. If he re-injures it, the damage could be permanent. Take your time with our stud, were going to need him.

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  • dirtyhoesdraws

    McClain its time for to get fuking pizzed the fuk off smack a mf in the mouth dig deep and lead us back to the top god damn it.

  • Raider4Life

    Post 33,

    Too true. We won’t have crowds that big for even half our games this year. Rolando was a gem of a pick and the smartest pick in seven years. He is an immediate leader and will be our defensive x factor. I have no doubt that he is our Ray Lewis for the next decade. After the last six years I am actually fired up about our chances this year. It is time to take out SD and reclaim the division.