By Steve Corkran
Monday, December 12th, 2011 at 1:34 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Here is the transcript of Raiders middle linebacker Rolando McClain’s first interview since he was arrested Dec. 1 in Decatur, Ala., for allegedly assaulting a childhood friend and firing a gun near the man’s ear.
Q: What were the big issues defensively yesterday?
McClain: “They have a great team. They have a great scheme. They have a great quarterback. They have great receivers that make plays when they need them. You have to give all credit to them. They played a great game. We simply didn’t execute on defense. There’s no excuse for it. We’re not going to try to make excuses. We have to win games against some good teams. We lost to the Packers and were embarrassed by it. All we can do is to try to learn from it, practice hard and get prepared for these next three games.”
Q. Is there a sense now that there’s no margin for error?
McClain. “There’s never a margin for error. You want to be right. We understand that nobody’s perfect. You’re not going to play perfect. But you don’t want to make the mistakes that we’ve been making. They’re simple mistakes here and there. So we just have to fix them.”
Q. How do you think you played?
McClain: “It doesn’t matter how I played. We lost.”
Q. What happened on Ryan Grant’s long touchdown run? It looked like you thought he was going to go one way and he went another. Were you screened off by a teammate?
McClain: “I won’t speak on that play. We know what happened as a defensive unit, and we’ll correct it.”
Q. Can you tell us what happened?
McClain: “I’ll just tell you that we know what happened.”
Q. You want to be playing your best football at the end of the year. How frustrating has it been for you guys the last two weeks?
McClain: “It’s hard. I talked to my mom last night, and she (said), ‘The last two games since the incident a few weeks ago I played good.’ I told her, simple and plain, it don’t matter. We’re not playing good on defense, no matter how good I play … And we’re not winning. For me, all I want to do is win. Whether I make a hundred tackles or one tackle, all I want to do is win and for the defense to perform well. We’re not getting it done right now.”
Q. You haven’t commented on the incident.
McClain: “I won’t comment on it. I haven’t and I won’t.”
Q. Just wanted to give you the opportunity to comment.
McClain: “It is what is. No comment.”
Q. Would you say the team is in shock over what’s happened in the last two games?
McClain: “I don’t know.”
Q. Are you confident that things will stay tight and you can still make a run?
McClain: “I’ve always been a guy that liked to stay in control of my own destiny. We had that control when we were leading the West. We gave up that by losing two games. All we can do now is go out and play football, good football and win games. And we have to rely on somebody else to lose, which is out of our hands now.”
Q. You didn’t blitz very much against the Packers, who are obviously tough to blitz against.
McClain: “You have different schemes for different teams. Some teams blitz a lot, and some teams drop eight in coverage. No matter what we did, we didn’t get the job done. (Rodgers) obviously had a lot of success.”
Q. Is there anything you guys could have done differently to get more of a pass rush?
McClain: “I don’t know. I know the guys up front – they rush hard. You have to give credit—they have a solid offensive line. They’ve got some guys hurt, but they play good as a unit. Plus, Rodgers gets the ball out fast, not matter what the rush is. They’re a good team.”
Q. Are the problems easy to fix?
McClain: “That’s the good thing about it. It’s nothing that’s out of the ordinary. It’s things we can fix and we’re going to have to fix in order to be a good defense. If we want to play in the playoffs, play against some of these good team, we can’t make the mistakes we’ve been making.”
Q. How much better a player are you than you were last year?
McClain: “I don’t know. I’m able to play faster, but there’s 10 other guys on the field with me. Coach has been saying for the past two weeks, “you’ve got to trust the guys around you.’ Not just my play, but once all 11 guys can trust everybody to do their job, we can play a lot faster and we can play a lot more efficient.”
Q. Do you know what happened with the too-man-men-on-the-field penalty on Jordy Nelson’s touchdown?
McClain: “I don’t know. … I have no idea.”
Q. Is it going to help being home after a couple of tough road trips?
McClain: “It’s always good to feel the support of your fans. We have a great fan base. They’ve show up tremendous. It’s holding tight. It feels good to be at home, not travel on the road, leave on a Friday, just relax and get back to playing football. It’s nothing to do with being on the road or being at home; it’s just about playing good football. We haven’t been playing that type of football that we’ve shown we can play throughout this year.”
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