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McClain getting the message loud and clear

By Steve Corkran
Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 at 1:26 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Media aren’t the only ones that find it difficult getting Raiders middle linebacker Rolando McClain to be more outgoing and communicative. Raiders coaches are doing double time in an effort to get McClain to assert himself as a leader and the linchpin of the defense.
In a rare interview, McClain said Monday that he is open to a heightened role, even if it means stepping out of his comfort zone.
“Oh. I don’t know,” McClain said, when asked if he’s comfortable being a leader. “I don’t, really. My nature is, I’m a quiet shy guy and I keep to myself. The coaches ask me to get away from that, basically. I’m trying to do that and I’m fighting with myself.”
McClain said his teammates are making it easier on him to be more vocal and to do more than lead by example, which is the method McClain prefers.
In McClain, the Raiders see a bright, young, talented player who has yet to realize his potential or play at the level commensurate with the No. 8 pick of the NFL draft.
“He’s done a real good job from a leadership standpoint,” coach Dennis Allen said after an offseason workout. “He’s very instinctive. He’s smart out there. He’s taken command of the huddle. Those things I’ve been pleased with.”
Allen also wants McClain to improve in his pass coverage. The Raiders, of course, can help out by not asking McClain to cover Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson or former San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson on post routes.
So far, McClain has proven adept at blitzing and covering receivers in the flat in his two NFL seasons. Beyond that, the knock on him is that he too often guesses wrong, jumps in the wrong gap and gets out of position on both run and pass plays.
There’s a faction that believes the Raiders used McClain the wrong way the past two seasons. To that, McClain said, he isn’t sure what to make of how he has been used so far.
“I don’t know,” McClain said. “Of course, I was in a 3-4 with coach (Nick) Saban and I did pretty well. But I’m just playing whatever they ask me to play and play that to the best of my ability, do the best I can and help make this defense better.”
McClain was referring to his standout days at Alabama, when he anchored the Tide defense and received the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker.
Allen said the Raiders defense will be more “multiple” this season, meaning they will incorporate the 3-4 and more blitzing into their overall scheme. Those changes figure to bode well for McClain.
When asked to assess his play last season, McClain refused to use injuries as an excuse for his uneven play last season.
“I’m not going to put an injury on anything,” McClain said. “I’m just saying that I didn’t play to the best of my ability and neither did our defense. We all can improve. It starts here with training camp. We came in with the right attitude in terms of we’re looking to improve. So, let’s start with that.”
Backup safety Mike Mitchell said McClain has learned from his off-field transgressions the past year or so and that McClain is primed for a big season.
Before you discount that as a possibility, consider the quantum leaps taken in their third season by former Raider cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and current wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.
“He’s just more mature,” Mitchell said. “You got to think, when he first got drafted, he was 21 years old. So, he’s a very young guy. The changes that you see are just a boy becoming a man.
“You won’t see nothing but good things coming from Ro. He’s learned from everything that’s happened from him. He’s learned from being in the league two years. It’s going to be a big year for him. I’m really excited.”
The odds of McClain making a precipitous jump this season seem to skyrocket when you take into account the scheme change. Mitchell agrees.
“I think so,” Mitchell said. “But, again, I’m not Ro. He controls what he does. I’m 100 percent confident in him. This is the best shape he’s ever been in. Coach gave us weights that we had to report at for the first time. He looks really good. He was killing the conditioning test. You saw him flying around today. The kid’s a beast.”
During the 5-minute-plus interview, McClain was engaging, introspective and even funny, at times. Team employees have worked hard in the past to get McClain to speak to the media and, by extension, the fans. To little avail.
It didn’t help that during McClain’s rookie season, then-coach Tom Cable, according to McClain, told McClain that he didn’t have to speak with the media, which is against league rules and places McClain at risk of being fined $25,000 for each violation.
Former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon spoke with the Raiders players Sunday about the importance of speaking with the media. It remains to be seen whether that resonated with McClain. Here’s to hoping that McClain comes out of his shell, for he is one of those players who actually has something to say that is worth hearing and reading.
Time will tell. When asked at the end of the interview, whether the media were growing on him, McClain said, “No, I wouldn’t say that.”
The Raiders, of course, are more concerned about McClain growing on the field. Not even McClain has a strong take on whether the fans, his teammates and coaches have seen the best of McClain.
“I don’t know,” McClain said. “I guess we’ll see. Like I said, I don’t know. I’m not big on individual stats. The most important thing is for the defense to be great. That’s why they drafted me, to bring the defense up and make plays. That’s what I’m striving to do.”
Let’s start with that, as he said.

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  • backstageatapuppetshow

    Occasionally in here I find an objective viewpoint….but I’d rather listen to trolls than Peter King.

  • realtruraider

    DJ Johnny Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 6:14 pm
    Vic Tafur is full of crap.
    —————————————-

    He actually just retweeted it, first came from CBSSportsNFLOAK

  • fingers

    Sounds like Palmers happy with the direction the tams going ..

  • SR Raider

    Backstageatapuppetshow Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 5:37
    Defensively, the role will be assumed by someone.
    I can guarantee you ALL one thing, it will not be McClain, and it will not be Richard Seymour. ============

    Agreed. It may have to be our first round pick next year. It is a leaderless defense at the moment

  • blackandsilverside

    My comment to Corky’s article posted above:

    I would say to Dannis Allen, “your nose is growing Pinocchio”:

    “He’s done a real good job from a leadership standpoint,” coach Dennis Allen said after an offseason workouts. “He’s very instinctive. He’s smart out there. He’s taken command of the huddle. Those things I’ve been pleased with.”

    Allen is full of crap. The Raiders take one step forward and one step back when its head coach bold face lies to the media.

    McClain is a loser, stupid at best. His performance is atrocious, and he is overweight, that big fat azz flopping like cottage cheese.

    The Raiders are retaining McClain this season hoping to salvage some of their multi-million dollar investment. But to say McClain will ever anchor, or be the leader of, the defense, is ridiculous.

    “Raiders coaches are doing double time in an effort to get McClain to assert himself as a leader and the linchpin of the defense.”

    A leader can never be “made”. A leader arises naturally and does what needs to be done, and does what others cannot do. In time the others will follow the so-called leader since it his will that will get the job done.

    “Oh. I don’t know,” McClain said, when asked if he’s comfortable being a leader. “I don’t, really. My nature is, I’m a quiet shy guy and I keep to myself. The coaches ask me to get away from that, basically. I’m trying to do that and I’m fighting with myself.”

    I find it strange that here McClain reverts to the nature of a small child, curled up sucking his thumb. Funny that McClain can take the bull by the horns and orchestrate and lead the “thug in the ghetto game” in Alabama, and almost blow the brains out of his ex best friend, yet can’t find the courage to do it on field.

    “Backup safety Mike Mitchell said McClain has learned from his off-field transgressions the past year or so and that McClain is primed for a big season.
    Before you discount that as a possibility, consider the quantum leaps taken in their third season by former Raider cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and current wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.”

    In the above paragraph, Corky shows why he should be fired. “Quantum Leap”?? Quantum Leap based on what?
    Furthermore Nnamdi, the greatest no shut down, shut down coorner in the history of the NFL with a whole 11 INT’s in 9 seasons went from 0 INT’s in his 2nd year to 0 INT’s in his 3rd year. Wonderful Cork ! In his 4th season Nnamdi made 8 INT’s, which is a good performance, keeping in mind GIO made 5 last yr as a back up. Nnamdi only made one INT per yr after that for a total of 11 with the Raiders.

    Nnamdi is mediocre at best; Corky, well Corky, he’s questionable: he won’t tell the truth either.

    Conclusion: McClain will not take a quantum leap forward since there is nothing there to base the quantum leap on. Allen and Corky are lying and full of it.

    The Raider’s time now is to tell the truth; I have always said that in the past 10 yrs there were scant few at the Raiders – staff members – who knew how football should be played at a professional level.

    Corky’s article here makes me wonder if that condition is still hanging upon the Raiders.

  • realtruraider

    Goodson went down with hamstring injury and Gordon has hip flexor injury.

    ——————————————————

    Hope both are not to serious, we don’t have any depth at both TE and RB

  • Nnamdi21

    Raider Nation-Station

    NEW!~ 07-31-12: CAMP DAY TWO
    Find out whats changed under the new regime and where we’re headed…

    http://​www.raidernationstation.com/​camp_2012_a_new_era_begins

  • backstageatapuppetshow

    @ 605, Blackandsilverside

    Well Said!

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    Wow.

  • backstageatapuppetshow

    SR Raider Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Backstageatapuppetshow Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 5:37
    Defensively, the role will be assumed by someone.
    I can guarantee you ALL one thing, it will not be McClain, and it will not be Richard Seymour. ============

    Agreed. It may have to be our first round pick next year. It is a leaderless defense at the moment

    _________________________________________________________

    Giordano seemed to lead our secondary last season at times….

    Curry is a possibility….

    Lamar Houston is a soft spoken Beast….best motor on the team!

    Branch may also grow some big boy pants this season…

    Who Knows?

  • http://repealitnow.org MistaBrown

    KK Munster, “if you have a successful business you didn’t build that, someone else did”

    You didn’t build those roads and bridges!

    lmao….pretty stupid right?

  • DJ Johnny

    599.backstageatapuppetshow Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 6:21 pm
    Johhny, what’s up my friend?

    You ready for the season?

    You bet Backstage.

    Seems like everybody’s got an opinion on who will do what this yr.

    Now they have this PRO 32 thing.

    Good thing the games get played on the field.

  • blackandsilverside

    Again:

    I would say to Dannis Allen, “your nose is growing Pinocchio”:

    “He’s done a real good job from a leadership standpoint,” coach Dennis Allen said after an offseason workouts. “He’s very instinctive. He’s smart out there. He’s taken command of the huddle. Those things I’ve been pleased with.”

    The Raiders actually began practice yesterday. I know that confusion basically reins there now, with no one leading no one on a roster that totals almost 90 players.

    Does Coach Allen think we are stupid? And for that matter does Corky think so too? Simple common sense tells one that in off season practices and 2 days of training camp McClain has not taken control of the defense.

    No one has done much of anything at this point, and won’t do much until the roster is down to approximately 75 men. We are supposed to believe that McClain has undergone the “quantum leap” in performance and character development in two days??

    To Allen: quit enabling this guy. Quit lying about him right to our faces. The more you attempt to falsely bolster McClain the more incompetent you look, and the more McClain will gain a false sense of confidence that he is indeed, a “leader.”

    To Corky: do your job as a journalist. Quit allowing HC Allen to lie to us and not call him out about it. I know that you tread a razor’s edge and if you tell the truth you shall be banned from the Raiders’ facilities.

    You call yourself a journalist now act like one: man up or go kick rocks partner.

  • DJ Johnny

    602.realtruraider Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 6:26 pm
    DJ Johnny Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 6:14 pm
    Vic Tafur is full of crap.
    —————————————-

    He actually just retweeted it, first came from CBSSportsNFLOAK

    I know. I just wanted to pick on Vic for no reason.

  • eastoaklandraider

    Blackandsilverside Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 6:29 pm
    My comment to Corky’s article posted above:

    I would say to Dannis Allen, “your nose is growing Pinocchio”:

    “He’s done a real good job from a leadership standpoint,” coach Dennis Allen said after an offseason workouts. “He’s very instinctive. He’s smart out there. He’s taken command of the huddle. Those things I’ve been pleased with.”

    Allen is full of crap. The Raiders take one step forward and one step back when its head coach bold face lies to the media.

    McClain is a loser, stupid at best. His performance is atrocious, and he is overweight, that big fat azz flopping like cottage cheese.

    The Raiders are retaining McClain this season hoping to salvage some of their multi-million dollar investment. But to say McClain will ever anchor, or be the leader of, the defense, is ridiculous.

    “Raiders coaches are doing double time in an effort to get McClain to assert himself as a leader and the linchpin of the defense.”

    A leader can never be “made”. A leader arises naturally and does what needs to be done, and does what others cannot do. In time the others will follow the so-called leader since it his will that will get the job done.

    “Oh. I don’t know,” McClain said, when asked if he’s comfortable being a leader. “I don’t, really. My nature is, I’m a quiet shy guy and I keep to myself. The coaches ask me to get away from that, basically. I’m trying to do that and I’m fighting with myself.”

    I find it strange that here McClain reverts to the nature of a small child, curled up sucking his thumb. Funny that McClain can take the bull by the horns and orchestrate and lead the “thug in the ghetto game” in Alabama, and almost blow the brains out of his ex best friend, yet can’t find the courage to do it on field.

    “Backup safety Mike Mitchell said McClain has learned from his off-field transgressions the past year or so and that McClain is primed for a big season.
    Before you discount that as a possibility, consider the quantum leaps taken in their third season by former Raider cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and current wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.”

    In the above paragraph, Corky shows why he should be fired. “Quantum Leap”?? Quantum Leap based on what?
    Furthermore Nnamdi, the greatest no shut down, shut down coorner in the history of the NFL with a whole 11 INT’s in 9 seasons went from 0 INT’s in his 2nd year to 0 INT’s in his 3rd year. Wonderful Cork ! In his 4th season Nnamdi made 8 INT’s, which is a good performance, keeping in mind GIO made 5 last yr as a back up. Nnamdi only made one INT per yr after that for a total of 11 with the Raiders.

    Nnamdi is mediocre at best; Corky, well Corky, he’s questionable: he won’t tell the truth either.

    Conclusion: McClain will not take a quantum leap forward since there is nothing there to base the quantum leap on. Allen and Corky are lying and full of it.

    The Raider’s time now is to tell the truth; I have always said that in the past 10 yrs there were scant few at the Raiders – staff members – who knew how football should be played at a professional level.

    Corky’s article here makes me wonder if that condition is still hanging upon the Raiders.
    ——————
    Another hater Nation/lost me when he said Nnamdi sucked he has been one of the best cover corners since 07.
    he will be slurpin Mcclains balls by seasons end. some folks just dont knw football.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    Gotta Let the coaches coach.

  • eastoaklandraider

    we all knw mcclain did something stupid but so have plenty of athletes but to say this guy will never amount to anything after 2 seasons is asinine.

  • realtruraider

    615

    Yeah, Im sure that fool was one of the people calling DMC and DHB bums before there 3rd year. I picked DHB as my MUP last year and he proved me right, I really think McClain will have a great not good year this season. There will be alot of people on here eating crow thats fo sho

  • blackandsilverside

    Eastoaklandraider,

    Grow up baby boy

    In 8 seasons playing for the Raiders Lester Hayes had 39 INT’s.

    In 2 seasons playing with the Raiders, at the end of his career, Rod Woodson had 10 INT’s.

    In his 8 seasons playing for the Raiders Nnamdi had 11. As I said, Gio had 5 INT’s last year playing as a backup end.

    Please quote me the statistics that demonstrate Nnamdi has been one of the best cover corners since 07. I’ll be glad to analyze them.

    I believe all you have to rely on is cheap talk by sports commentators, writers, etc., who allowed a misbegotten myth regarding Nnamdi to arise.

    As I say, the greatest “no shut down, shut down corner” in the NFL today.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    Gio played Safety last year.

  • eastoaklandraider

    a corner cannot always be judged by ints my friend everybody knows how good Nnamdi is except you. he cut the field in half and qbs rarely even threw his way the ultimate respect and thats why he the top free agent black analyze that.

  • eastoaklandraider

    guess Revis is no good either. but thats who the media proclaim as the top two corners.

  • eastoaklandraider

    Jets also wanted Nnamdi.

  • blackandsilverside

    Eastoaklandraider,

    Where did you come with the following statement???

    “a corner cannot always be judged by ints my friend everybody knows how good Nnamdi is except you.”

    I agree Darelle Revis is a great corner. He has 18 INT’s in 5 seasons playing with the Jets, almost double the production of Nnamdi. Analyze that my friend.

    And I really don’t care whom the media proclaims to be the best 2 corners in the NFL. Reevis may be one but Nnamdi definitely is not.

    BTW, I bet you were a JC worshipper, down on your knees praying and supplicating yourself, proclaiming that JC WAS a #1 QB, possibly the second coming of Jim Plunkett.

    Funny you, a day after he entered free agency JC signed as #2, Jay Cutler’s backup.

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