Rolando goes toe to toe with media in rare interview

Raiders middle linebacker Rolando McClain does not enjoy speaking with the media. That’s a shame because he is in the minority in that he almost always has something interesting to say.
Yet, it’s the way he chooses to conduct business. On Monday, McClain broke from tradition and graced the media with a nearly 4-minute question-and-answer session, while holding a car seat with his baby in tow.
McClain has been the target of criticism for his uneven play the past two games. However, he doesn’t shy from the criticism and uses it as fuel to get better.
Here’s the transcript from the interview with McClain, which took place about an hour ago:

Q: Good game plan for Jets?
McClain: I think our game plan was just to be more physical than them. They pride themselves on being physical and that was just the game plan. Try to stop Santonio Holmes and stop the run.

Q: What does it say about secondary to keep losing people and still win?
McClain: It’s just a testament to how well we practice, trying to get so many guys prepared for the game. Chekwa stepped in and did a great job. Just have to give coach Rod Woodson a lot of credit. Guys got hurt but guys stepped in and played well.

Q: Did you feel difference with how defense played in first half and second half?
McClain: I just made a statement at halftime that how we played with the Bills, maybe they’re thinking that what happened last week is something that will continue to happen. That’s not being able to finish the second half. We just wanted to make the effort to finish in the second half. (At this point, his baby cries) I don’t think he likes the media either.

Q: How important is it to beat a quality opponent like that?
McClain: It feels great. They’re always in the AFC championship game. They have been the last two years. Just to go up against a team, try to compare yourself to that team, to beat that team kind of lets you know where you are.
We’ve still got a long ways to go, but we’re going to keep pushing, keep working.

Q: This week is another one of those games?
McClain: Huge game. One of the best teams in the league and they’ve been a premiere team in the league for a while. Just another way to measure where we are right now. Just go out and compete against these guys.

Q: Different kind of test with the Patriots after the physical Jets?
McClain: This is just a finesse team. I mean, Tom Brady’s a smart guy, has many weapons around him, with his receivers as well as his tight ends. His tight ends are playing great right now.

Q: Are you happy with your play this year?
McClain: I’m just trying to step my play up each week, try to get better from what I did last year and get better week by week.

Q: What did the sellout crowd feel like?
McClain: It felt amazing. I think that won was due to them. It was huge just to have the fan support. I think they feel what we feel. We feel like we’re turning this Raider program around and I think they feel the same thing.

Q: What was the difference between this game and Buffalo?
McClain: We knew it. It was still in the back of our minds what happened in Buffalo. And we won’t forget it, we didn’t forget it. We won’t forget it for a while. It was still fresh in our mind. It’s your job to report on what we did. And we wanted to quiet the critics, saying we can’t finish in the second half. We just tried to play a good second half.

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Steve Corkran