Part of the Bay Area News Group

McClain paying off in more ways than one

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, December 20th, 2010 at 1:31 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Rolando McClain has been mainly a spectator at practice for the past two and a half weeks but during that time has responded with two of his best games.

McClain had seven stops and a tackle for loss Sunday against Denver, missed the Jacksonville game with a soft tissue foot injury and seven stops against San Diego, a game that included a highlight-reel hit on Chargers running back Darren Sproles.

“I watch a lot of film by myself and with coach (Mike) Haluchak, so I think watching film is just as important as practicing,’’ McClain said Monday. “So I was prepared.’’

It was just the second time this season McClain agreed to talk on the record. He’s not a fan of interviews, although it’s difficult to say why.

His no B.S. style, along with enormous self-confidence, reminds one of a slightly more understated Charles Woodson in the question and answer game.

McClain joked that he wasn’t going to complain about not practicing, but noted, “It’s hard sometimes because I know my teammates want me out there. You can tell I make a difference in practice, just being prepared and alerting everybody.

“Last week’s game was the first game I’ve ever missed in my life. Not just football or college. First game ever due to injury. So it was hard and no matter what it takes, I’ve got to get out there.’’

With 71 tackles, McClain is tied for sixth among all NFL rookies and is second among linebackers, trailing Indianapolis outside linebacker Pat Angerer (78).

“My goal is 100 tackles each year so I’m not there yet. I’ve still got a long way to go but I’ve still got two games and I can make up some room,’’ McClain said.

“But my goal, my main goal was to try to improve this defense in any way possible. I think everybody around me is playing better, from the D-line to my linebackers.

“If we can just continue to do that, continue to grow, continue to build on it, that would be all right, and I think that’s the impact they really need from me.”

McClain, who played the spy against Florida’s Tim Tebow in the SEC championship game won by Alabama a year ago, said the plan Sunday was to confuse him with zones so he did little in the way of spying.

“We talked before the game, talked at halftime,’’ McClain said. “Still a great player. I think he’ll be good in this league. I think he had pretty good game, besides losing.”

Fined twice this year for a body slam of the Rams’ Danny Amendola ($5,000) and for a blow to the helmet of Seattle’s Justin Forsett ($7,500), McClain’s hit on Sproles was ruled to be clean Sproles had taken three steps and was not a defenseless receiver.

“It felt good, but then it felt bad because I was worried he was going to be hurt. He’s a good guy,’’ McClain said.

McClain will be a little lighter in the wallet tonight when the rookies host the rest of the team at a high-end steakhouse.

By virtue of his first-round status and reported $23 million guarantee in his contract, McClain will get body-slammed like Amendola when it comes time to pay the check.

“I’m going to get hit with a pretty big bill tonight,’’ McClain said. “They usually do it as positions but this time they’re doing it as a team. I’ll take the bulk of the bill. I already know it. They already told me I’m paying for it.’’

More news, notes, quotes and observations from Monday’s open locker room session:

— Right tackle Langston Walker reported to work with a slight headache after leaving in the second quarter with a concussion following a Denver interception by safety Renaldo Hill.

“I’ve taken the little concussion test. They said I’m better than they thought I would be,’’ Walker said. “Then, you just go from there. You see how you feel the next day and sort of ease back into it.”

Mario Henderson replaced Walker, the first time he’s played in an NFL game at right tackle after 41 games at left tackle, 27 as a starter.

“I just look at it as an opportunity, to go in there and not skip a beat, just continue the pace that was set before the game,’’ Henderson said. “I don’t want to go out there and be the guy who wasn’t paying attention and wasn’t studying.

“I played OK, but I can play a lot better and I will do better.’’

— Linebacker Quentin Groves was already looking forward to Sunday and facing Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning.

“I call him the human robot. He is a human robot,’’ Groves said. “You try anything and everything to get this guy out of his game, and it doesn’t work. So you just have to try and do what you do best.

“The best way to beat Peyton Manning is to keep him on the sideline. And that’s by running the ball on offense and controlling the clock.’’

Toward that end, the Raiders have moved in to second in the NFL in rushing at 157.5 yards per game and the Colts are ranked 28th against the run, giving up 135.8.

— Jacoby Ford went Hue Jackson 51 yards better on the first snap from scrimmage.

“Hue challenged me a little bit, saying I had to get at least 20 yards on it,’’ Ford said. “So I took it to the house. I think I won that bet.’’

Ford said he came into the season not knowing what his role would be and was prepared for anything.

Jared Veldheer, who became the starting left tackle after playing at Division II Hillsdale, had a goal in mind from the start.

“It was obviously a goal of mine, to be a starting tackle, and to achieve that goal I knew I needed to work hard and put in the time and really pick apart my game and try to work on it, and keep improving it, constantly keep improving it to not only stay in that spot but to make the team better,’’ Veldheer said.

How did he succeed with the leap in competition?

“Most of it’s just a mindset,’’ Veldheer said. “It’s you versus another person. No one is super man with a cape out there. Everyone is wearing a helmet and shoulder pads and you’ve got to go out there and execute and do your job better than the guy across from you.’’

— Something’s up with Sebastian Janikowski’s kickoffs that goes beyond the change in the weather.

Over his last six games, Janikowski has just four touchbacks in 31 kickoffs, a 12.9 percent rate. In the first eight games, Janikowski had 24 touchbacks in 49 kickoffs, a 49.0 percent rate.

It’s not affecting his field goal accuracy. Janikowski is 10-or-11 on field goal attempts in the last six games.

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  • L.A. Raider Dave

    What i’m worried about is losing Hue to a H/C job somewhere else.

  • http://blackhillsphoto.com/sturgis-weddings/black-hills-weddings.jpg Dakota

    Lol

    KC will be a team to be reckoned with for years. They are young across the board and are well coached, and we barely beat them.

    SD will be good as long as they can put 10 guys on offense next to Phillip Rivers.

    We aren’t going to dominate the AFC West every year like this. We need to start winning some games against teams outside our division if we want to be taken seriously. And I don’t mean beating a couple of teams from arguably the worst division in football history, the NFC West.

    But the Broncos are dead in the water. It will take them years to get back to competitive football!

    muhahahahahahaahahaaaaaa

  • Just Fire Baby

    I am excited for our future, because we have one of the best line combo’s in the NFL.

    Lead the NFL in sacks and #2 rated rushing game. Same exact recipe as the Jets last year, who limped to 9-7 to make the playoffs than exploded in the postseason.

    This team can do that too, because we beat the crap out of every team up front.

  • CDERaider

    Campbell is not elite, maybe he never will be, but is *good enough* for now to build a winner around. Gradkowski is def not the answer, besides he can’t stay healthy anyway. For us to go out and try to get a ‘Franchise QB’ in draft/FA would be a big mistake at this point in the rebuilding process. If you look at Campbell’s numbers, they are actually pretty good and he is improving with every game – which is a great sign.

    The Raiders *biggest* problems are not the QB position – its the Oline, WR and stopping the Run – every team that makes it to the SB has these things. Granted a stud QB is great too – but they’re so hard to find and it costs way too much to try and fail (see Jamarcus, Alex Smith, David Carr, etc etc). If we put Brady/Manning/Brees on our team today, I still don’t think we could win a SB because our Oline is not good enough and our WR production is among the worst in the league. Run D is also killing us and is the real reason we are missing the playoffs, not the play of our QB’s.

  • http://blackhillsphoto.com/sturgis-weddings/black-hills-weddings.jpg Dakota

    101.L.A. Raider Dave Says:
    December 20th, 2010 at 3:19 pm
    What i’m worried about is losing Hue to a H/C job somewhere else.
    +++++

    Al knows that the improvement this year can mainly be placed on Hue’s shoulders, so he isn’t going anywhere. Al will keep Hue over Cable in a heartbeat.

  • http://www.aldavissucks.blogspot.com The Real MaddenRaider

    Mistic, is Campbell good enough at reading blitzes and hot routes to be a Super Bowl winning quarterback? You said he was good yesterday. That wasn’t the question. Yesterday wasn’t the Super Bowl. Yesterday wasn’t even the playoffs. In fact, yesterday was a game against one of the worst teams in the league.

    McRaider answered. He said no. He said Campbell is no Vick or Manning. Do you disagree with him?

  • J Hill

    I can see your point about the 1st int JFB. It’s amazing to me how many times you see that. Appears to us that the QB is looking right at a guy and he throws it right to him. I see that A LOT every Sunday in a lot of different games. Usually ends up being knocked down like you say.

    I disagree on the throw to Miller and Ford. Those are timing routes like the announcer was pointing out and JC threw the ball prior to the breaks. Miller lumbering down field on a double move? That play was taking all day to develop, lol. Ford started to break inside way late on that route. Campbell threw it on the path he was running.

    Those things to me are simply timing that can easily be worked out the more time they spend together. Not like the guy is out there making bad decisions with the ball I think is what I’m looking at.

  • http://blackhillsphoto.com/sturgis-weddings/black-hills-weddings.jpg Dakota

    97.ottocrat Says:
    December 20th, 2010 at 3:17 pm
    Within the 30 yrd line; In a dome; 1st round draft pick lines up to win the game, and chokes. F him. He should have been cut that day, replaced by the dude we had in pre-season. He would’ve made that kick.
    ++++++++++++

    Bet that scrub wouldn’t have made those kicks yesterday though.

    Jezuz, kickers sometimes miss. Jano is the least of our problems. If we play better run D last week in JAX we wouldn’t have to worry about a kicker.

  • http://www.aldavissucks.blogspot.com The Real MaddenRaider

    CDERaider Says:
    December 20th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Campbell is not elite, maybe he never will be, but is *good enough* for now to build a winner around.

    ………..

    What is a “winner”? Do you mean a Super Bowl winner? Do you think Campbell is good enough to win a Super Bowl?

  • Just Fire Baby

    After the zero sack performance yesterday, the Raiders are creeping into the middle of the pack of the league in sacks allowed (currently #22).

    #2 rated rushing attack to boot. This O-line is good, bordering on great.

    If we had a TE who wasn’t awful in blocking it would be the icing on the cake.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    # Just Fire Baby Says:
    December 20th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    funny how some people want to pin missing the playoffs on sebass in az, however they totally neglect this piss poor qb play in az houston and miami. especially the miami game.

    *******************************

    Again, no mention of the piss poor play QB in the SF game, which was easily the worst of the year.

    How is that game any different than the other three? That game counted to didn’t it? If we win that game we control our own destiny, and our defense gave up the least amount of points in that game than the other 3.
    ========================================================

    You must have missed my point in your haste to trash our winning qb.

    The other 3 games were different because we didnt have the right qb starting the game.

    If you have jc in those games i mentioned we have a much better chance to win, because jc is a much better player than frodo.

    get it

  • McRaider5150

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:

    # McRaider5150 Says:
    December 20th, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Campbell’s not vick, Brees, or manning, but who is??

    ……….

    I’ll put you down for “no”. Thanks for your honesty.
    ————————
    If you are talking about winning a SB, I say yes he can. it’s not a about QB play, you need an entire team.

    Vick, brees, and Manning all all 1 of kind, but they are not the only QB’s that can when the SB.

  • http://blackhillsphoto.com/sturgis-weddings/black-hills-weddings.jpg Dakota

    110.Just Fire Baby Says:
    December 20th, 2010 at 3:23 pm
    After the zero sack performance yesterday, the Raiders are creeping into the middle of the pack of the league in sacks allowed (currently #22).

    #2 rated rushing attack to boot. This O-line is good, bordering on great.

    If we had a TE who wasn’t awful in blocking it would be the icing on the cake.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The o-line is not bordering on great for foooks sake. The only reason we are down in sacks is because Campbell can move and we run a hell of a lot. They are a good run blocking line.

  • McRaider5150

    Did anyone think Eli Manning was good enough to win a SB??

  • Just Fire Baby

    I don’t get it.

    Was the QB play awful in the SF game? If in those other 3 games our defense holds the opposing team to 17 points, we would have won all 3.

  • http://www.aldavissucks.blogspot.com The Real MaddenRaider

    Mistic???? Hello????

    Can Campbell read blitzes and hot routes well enough to win a Super Bowl? You said he’s good enough to beat Denver, pointing out that he did so yesterday. I didn’t watch all of yesterday’s game, so I haven’t seen any highlights of him doing so. Does he suddenly have a quick release? No more of that full Fernando Valenzuela windup every time he throws the ball?

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    # The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    December 20th, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Mistic, is Campbell good enough at reading blitzes and hot routes to be a Super Bowl winning quarterback? You said he was good yesterday. That wasn’t the question. Yesterday wasn’t the Super Bowl. Yesterday wasn’t even the playoffs. In fact, yesterday was a game against one of the worst teams in the league.

    McRaider answered. He said no. He said Campbell is no Vick or Manning. Do you disagree with him?
    =========================================================

    Pointless dialogue, we arent talking about a superbowl team.

  • ArmChair GM

    # RaiderFanFromJersey Says:
    December 20th, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    We are what we are. A team with a shot (slim as it is) at making the playoffs for the first time since the Tampa debacle. If someone would’ve asked us in august would that be an acceptable place for us to be in at this point in the season, I’m sure 90%+ would’ve taken that. I want it all like most football fans, but we’ve taken huge strides this year and its not over yet, GO RAIDERS!!!!!!
    ____________________________________________________

    Excellent post. If we finish the season 9-7 even if we DON’T make the playoffs, it is a reason for a celebration the likes of which we haven’t seen since January 2003!

    A few more pieces and we will be in the AFC Championship game very soon.

  • J Hill

    Al knows that the improvement this year can mainly be placed on Hue’s shoulders, so he isn’t going anywhere. Al will keep Hue over Cable in a heartbeat.

    ——————————————————

    Look at the strides this offense made with a scrub OC no one wanted. Goes to show you how much talent this team had and how much of a POS play caller Cable was. Imagine if a REAL OC had come in here?

    Not worried about losing Cable or Hue to be honest.

  • http://blackhillsphoto.com/sturgis-weddings/black-hills-weddings.jpg Dakota

    I didn’t think so many in here would go off the deep end after we struggled to beat the Broncos at home. Yikes. Reality checks are coming.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    # The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    December 20th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Mistic???? Hello????

    You said he’s good enough to beat Denver, pointing out that he did so yesterday. I didn’t watch all of yesterday’s game,
    =================================================

    just as i suspected. next

  • http://blackhillsphoto.com/sturgis-weddings/black-hills-weddings.jpg Dakota

    119.J Hill Says:
    December 20th, 2010 at 3:27 pm
    Al knows that the improvement this year can mainly be placed on Hue’s shoulders, so he isn’t going anywhere. Al will keep Hue over Cable in a heartbeat.

    ——————————————————

    Look at the strides this offense made with a scrub OC no one wanted. Goes to show you how much talent this team had and how much of a POS play caller Cable was. Imagine if a REAL OC had come in here?

    Not worried about losing Cable or Hue to be honest.

    ++++++++++++

    Funny….that’s how I feel about the QBs!

  • SnB Production

    Folks,

    The QB discussion is over. JC has played well enough to be retained. You can splice his performance by this that and the other….but the bottom line is wins and points.

    I was a big JC supporter, but his meandering performance left me indifferent at times and outright disgusted at other times.

    JC salvaged himself this year. I think you stick it out with him. He’s in the system and let’s just see where he takes it. He plays well enough for THIS offense to be successfull…..and that’s all that matters.

    Get another receiver

  • http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ KoolKell

    Geez, I coulda swore the Raiders won yesterday.

  • J Hill

    After the zero sack performance yesterday,

    ——————————————————

    How much credit do you give the QB for that?

    Getting the ball out of his hands, moving around in the pocket, and scrambling help out your stats?

  • Just Fire Baby

    It does, have you ever seen me bash Campbell for not being mobile?

    His shiftiness in the pocket and mobility makes up for his slow reads, and really helps his checkdown game after DHB has ran 75 yards down the field with his defender.

  • http://blackhillsphoto.com/sturgis-weddings/black-hills-weddings.jpg Dakota

    New post

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    # Just Fire Baby Says:
    December 20th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I don’t get it.

    Was the QB play awful in the SF game? If in those other 3 games our defense holds the opposing team to 17 points, we would have won all 3.
    ==========================================================

    I told you monday after sf that was a terrible game from campbell, but it was out of character.

    this has no bearing on the fact that the games we started cables pet we had no chance to win. Campbell plays in those games and we have a much better chance, the other guy is useless. So i dont blame seabass for those three loses, better qb play wins those games. In order to get better qb play, you nedd a better qb than we had in az hou and mia.

    simple enough for you?

  • McRaider5150

    # The Real MaddenRaider Says:

    Mistic, is Campbell good enough at reading blitzes and hot routes to be a Super Bowl winning quarterback? You said he was good yesterday. That wasn’t the question. Yesterday wasn’t the Super Bowl. Yesterday wasn’t even the playoffs. In fact, yesterday was a game against one of the worst teams in the league.

    McRaider answered. He said no. He said Campbell is no Vick or Manning. Do you disagree with him?
    ———————————
    To make sure I am clear here. I think JC can read blitz well enough to win the SB. Does he have faith that his and WR’s will also make adjustments in their routes, no. That could change with time.

    and again, Vick, Brees, and Manning are not the only QB’s that can win the SB, that should be pretty obvious.

  • hwnrdr

    Funny is that when asked about the td pass to Reese yesterday, Campbell said he was only worried about missing him since he was so wide open…
    Worried about missing him? JC did good yesterday, but that statement scares me because he “missed” quite a few yesterday also…but at least he knows it! Ja Dumbo still doesn’t get why he was benched for Bruce last year!

  • CDERaider

    109. Given a team strong enough to make it there, yes I think he is good enough. At least as good as Brad Johnson was, or Trent Dilfer was, or Jim Plunkett was for that matter. Plus, he’s been a champion (in college), so at least he’s a winner on some level and frankly he has been pretty solid so far, not great, but solid considering the Oline sucks and he’s been pulled 3 times.

    The team needs to drastically improve on the OL, WR, Run D. The Jets are considered SB contenders, because of Mark Sanchez?, no, its their Oline and D that is among the best in the league. Is Mark Sanchez good enough to win the SB? Probably, but he’s def not elite and would probably suck on a lesser team – if they do win it will be because of their other strengths and he did just enough to not screw it up. Campbell can be that guy too – and I think he can be better than that.

  • http://www.aldavissucks.blogspot.com The Real MaddenRaider

    McRaider5150 Says:
    December 20th, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    If you are talking about winning a SB, I say yes he can

    ………….

    Really?

    2009 SB winning QB: Drew Brees – good as anyone at picking up blitzes.

    2008: Big Ben. Good as anyone

    2007: Eli. Good as anyone

    2006: Peyton. Possibly the best

    2005: Big Ben

    2004: Brady. Good as anyone at picking up blitz.

    2003: Brady

    2002: Brad Johnson -now, here might be a QB as bad as Campbell, but his team also had the best defense in football. All he had to do was move the chains.

    2001: Brady

    2000: Another lousy QB, Dilfer. But like Tampa, had a all time great defense.

    1999: Kurt Warner. Good as anyone at picking up blitz

    1998: Elway. Good as anyone.

    1997: Elway.

    1996: Favre. Good as anyone.

    1995: Aikman. Good as anyone.

    1994: Steve Young. Good as anyone.

    1993: Aikman

    1992: Aikman

    1991: Rypien? He might have sucked like Campbell. Had a pretty good defense if I recall.

    1990: Hostetler? I don’t remember how good he was at picking up the blitz. I recall him being an improvement in that department when he came here. But, anyway, he also had a great defense with NY Giants.

    1989: Joe Montana. Good as anyone.

    1988: Joe Montana.

    1987: Doug Williams. Good as anyone

    1986: Phil Simms. Good as anyone.

    1985: McMahon. Kind of a bonehead, yet, again, GREAT defense. One of the best in history.

    1984: Montana

    1983: Plunkett. Good as anyone. Don’t be fooled by Al’s mythology of Plunkett being nothing more than an arm. Plunkett’s one of the best QB’s at reading and exploiting defenses going back to his days at Stanford.

    1982: Theisman. Good as anyone.

    1981: Joe Montana

    1980: Plunkett

    1979: Terry Bradshaw. Good as anyone

    1978: Bradshaw.

    1977: Staubach. Good as anyone.

    1976: Stabler. Good as anyone.

    1975: Bradshaw

    1974: Bradshaw

    1973: Griese. Good as anyone.

    1972: Griese. Good as anyone.

    1971: Staubach

    1970: Unitas/Morall. both as good as anyone

    1969: Len Dawson. Good as anyone.

    1968: I want to kiss you, Suzy Tolbert. Good as anyone.

    1966 and ’67: Bart Starr. Good as anyone.

    So, basically you have McMahon, maybe hostetler, Rypien, and Brad Johnson, who weren’t great at reading defenses, yet had good defenses on their teams, and I mean great defenses.

    So, basically, according to HISTORY, the only way Campbell wins a Super Bowl with his inability to read defenses and his Fernando Valenzuela windup (fine if he’s a baseball player, but in football you have this thing called pass rushers and you have to get rid of the ball..) is if the Raiders assemble one of the greatest defenses in football. I don’t see that happening. So I don’t think Campbell is our answer at QB, either, if we plan on winning a Super Bowl.

    1968:

  • rosko

    I thought M. Huff played pretty well yesterday.

  • kvnbntly

    It’s all going to come down to that botched field goal in AZ.

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::

    That was on the overpaid hack Condo…

    —————–
    what about the other two

  • BigLefty

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    December 20th, 2010 at 2:35 pm
    JFB,

    whats with you and the HEIGHT/WEIGHT/SPEED thing?

    ***************************

    I am more of a stats guy.

    You know, like the stats of Goethel and Brown combining for 1 assisted tackle yesterday.

    _________________________******************___________________

    I hope Brown didn’t get a tackle yesterday…he didn’t play a down on defense

    JFB = idiot !