By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 at 12:59 pm in Oakland Raiders.
A transcript of Rolando McClain’s first interview with Bay Area media members since the start of the regular-season:
Q: How you feeling?
Q: Injury was not a big deal?
McClain: Everything’s fine. Just a little hip pointer, swelled up, I guess over the last two days it went down so I was able to practice.
Q: How would you assess your rookie season so far, nine games in? Are you where you thought you’d be?
McClain: I think I’m playing fine, but besides my individual play I think we’ve started to come along in our defense and that’s really all that matters to me. I have a role to help with this defense.
Q: What has been difference last three games, 6-for-42 on third down, what has happened?
McClain: I don’t know, there was one meeting, we all just said to each other we were going to play football, basically, and we told coach, and coach said he’s going to call the right things. It was a total team effort. Not just the plays, but it was something in the play calling and we were going to get in the defense that we were most comfortable with, and as we said, let the dogs unchained, just play football and just go out and have fun and that’s what we’ve been doing.
Q: Rookie wall, does it exist, where you’d be wrapping up in college . .
McClain: I don’t know about no rookie wall. The bye week’s here. I’m perfectly fine.
Q: After some early struggles, first couple of games, you mentioned early speed wasn’t much different than SEC, did you think maybe NFL was a little tougher, faster than you expected?
McClain: Not at all. Like I said earlier, you play against guys in practice all the time in practice that are just as fast as anybody you’re going to see. For me, it hasn’t been easy. But it hasn’t been hard either, because I have a great defensive line in front of me, taking care of me, allowing me to just run around, and coach is just letting us play.
Q: How often have you encountered guys on line getting to you at second level?
McClain: Sometimes it’s all the time. I watched film, last year you had to double Seymour as well as TK, and they forced the middle linebacker to make plays, and if you watch film now, you see you can’t double those guys because you have to account for me in the blocking scheme. My job is to try and make tackles, defeat the block first, but I don’t have a problem with that, especially with TK and Seymour making the plays they’ve been making, I don’t mind taking on the block every now and then.
Q: Focused on team aspect, but are there more plays to be made, interceptions, etc.?
McClain: I think everybody wants to make plays. That’s the league that we’re in. You just want to produce. But just from watching plays and watching film, coach is satisfied with what I’m doing. I don’t know. I take pride in my man not getting the ball thrown to him. When I’m guarding the back, because we’ve been playing a lot of Cover 5 lately, the ball hasn’t been going to my man so I haven’t had a lot of chances to make interceptions so I’m perfectly fine with that.
Q: Coaches are satisfied, but are you satisfied? And are you ever satisfied?
McClain: No, you’re never satisfied. If you’re satisfied, you become complacent and if you become complacent you might as well stop playing.
Q: Came in here conducting yourself as a veteran, do you feel like a rookie in any way at this point?
McClain: I don’t know, not really. I just feel like I’m one of the players, like I’m part of the team. That’s the hard thing coming in. You meet so many new guys, new coaches, new scheme, new everything coming in, and you have to adapt to it and fit in some kind of way. Now I feel like I fit in and everything is going smoothly, so I don’t feel like one of those 11 guys out on the field playing.
Q: You requested a sellout. You got it. What was it like?
McClain: It was crazy for the times I was out there. I only played 20 plays but I don’t think I’ve ever heard it that loud. I wanted the sellout because I knew we were about to do something special. You can feel it in the locker room, you can feel it in practice. We’re about to be pretty darned scary around here. I just wanted the fans’ support. It’s been like two years, and I don’t think I’ve ever not had a sellout, coming from Alabama . Me, as well as the rest of the guys on the team, feel like we’re about to have something special, so we wanted the fans to come out and support us.
Q: Confident you’ll pick up where you left off after the bye week?
McClain: No problem. The bye week, some guys could lose focus, but I don’t see that problem with this team. Everybody’s focused. We know the task at ahead. So, we’re just going to keep working, take some time off to recover and get our bodies healed and go back at it.
Q: Explain your reluctance to speak with the media?
McClain: I’m just not a media guy, to say the least. I’m just shy and I like to stay to myself. If it was my choice, I would never do media.
Q: Is it anything against us?
McClain: No, I have no problem with y’all. It’s just how I was raised. I just stay to myself and just real shy. I stay to myself a lot. It’s just the way I’ve always been. Talking to coach Cable after the first couple times I declined interviews, he asked why. I told him the reason, and he said ‘fine.’ You don’t have to do the local media. Just make sure if it’s one of those people from the network that are doing the game, then make sure you do that. I said, ‘All right.’ So, we kind of had an agreement with that. I promised if we had a sellout that I’d do media, so I’m here.
Q: So, when are we going to hear from you again?
McClain: Next sellout.