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McClain getting the message loud and clear

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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Steve Corkran

  • The Beeech Dawg

    rob_raider Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    The Beeech Dawg Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:15 pm
    Nob, I’m sorry I hurt your feelings with all this bagging

    I thought an “Actual Cool Guy” could handle it, not run around the blog looking for friends to comfort him

    If it makes you feel any better, the only direction you can go from here is up.

    Actually, that’s not true. You’ll be wetting your gym shorts all over again tomorrow after more Beeeech Diggity Dawg Official Smackdowns

    Holla
    ****************

    wait, what? there was a smackdown? when? i missed it.

    ________________

    We know you did, minion. But don’t worry, me and the rest of my Blog Brahs enjoyed the whole thing

    HOLLA

  • Method To My Madness

    JLofty Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:21 pm
    B@uce I will agree the W’s are looking to be a legit hoop team once again…
    Klay’s gunna need to grow up fast same with young HBarnes. Those guys are young.
    So who is this Jack guy as bu PG? Where’d he come from?
    **************************

    Sports is a young dawg’s game bruh

    Yes warriors will play real basketball not that loser schit with monta who is really a sixth man!

    Klay is more athletic and better ball handling plus better defending Reggie Miller

    Barnes is a smooth athletic wing who can really defend

    Jarret Jack is a nba vet from Ga Tech….he is tough and can play both guard spots….excellent defender and great character guy…he was with Hornets and Blazer before…he can guard guys bigger than him

    People just have no clue what W’s are building

  • The Beeech Dawg

    Dan78 Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    hey Sob i had no beef but if you want to step up. let the schit fly

    ————–

    Sob Raider! 78, that’s pretty dope

    May have to rotate that with Nob, just to keep the smackdowns fresh

    PMPP N FULL EFFECT

  • PurpleDrank81

    DVD out there balling out against D.Moore

    Taiwan just fumbled but has looked impressive

  • eastoaklandraider

    best CB in football for years
    ———
    NO HE IS NOW IN GB. WHERE IS HIS DEF PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD IN OAKLAND. HOW MANY PRO BOWLS IN OAKLAND. SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO RETURN THAT GIFT INT HE GOT AGAINST TAMPA AS WELL IN SB HURT OR NOT.

  • Thec

    Vic Tafur‏@VicTafur

    Ford makes nice diving sideline catch

  • TxRaider210

    Ford diving sideline catch

  • TxRaider210

    Thec
    Beat me to it lol

  • Thec

    Steve Corkran‏@CorkOnTheNFL

    Ford with sweet sliding catch as he falls out of bounds.

    ++++++++++

    thought this guy had no hands…

  • eastoaklandraider

    MONTA WHILE SMALL FOR A SG STILL HAD ATOP TEN SCORING AVG AND WOULD BE A STAR IF HE WERE ON A CONTENDER NAME 10 SG BETTER THAN MONTA.

  • JB

    CWoodson at safety this year will be classic. Could be one of his best years ever. He can blitz more and ball hawk as a free rover. He will have great numbers this year.

  • http://raiders.com Seymour Bush

    Man, Lady Gaga seeks less attention than miss biachi does.

  • Dan78

    Lets hope for these guys to come out healthy from camp

  • The Beeech Dawg

    Brian the Genital, what are your plans for your big face to face meeting with KrappyRat on Friday?

    That’s going to be totally epic, I’m working on a hip hop jam all about it called “Straight Frontin’”

    Going to have mad bass, a snare drum solo and 6 or 7 African chicks whispering Oh LaLaLa La in to the mic

  • TxRaider210

    I’ve never questioned anything about Ford, except that he can improve short timing routes, which he may have…

  • Thec

    PurpleDrank81 Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:25 pm
    DVD out there balling out against D.Moore

    Taiwan just fumbled but has looked impressive

    ++

    who are you following?

  • Method To My Madness

    Eastoaklandraider Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:21 pm
    IF U ARE EXCITED FOR THIS TEAM U HAVE LOW EXPECTATIONS ITS NOT ABOUT BEING THE 8TH SEED IN THE WEST ITS ABOUT DOING WHAT THE LOGO DID WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS. AND THE Ws ARE NOT CLOSE TO MIA OR OKC SO NO IM NOT EXCITED.
    ***************************

    First off bruh….no one is close to Mia and OKC in the nba so lets get that out the way

    8th seed…you wanna bet W’s win close to 50 games this year and cause noise in playoffs?

    To get closer to winning title you need to play real basketball which hasnt occurred for over 30 years with the W’s….you need to draft good players and have a good front office

    But funny you will be excited about the Raiders when we aint a championship team…regime is changing and thats what folks are excited about with Raiders and Warriors

    You not gonna go from rag tag to champions overnight in the NBA mayne!

    Step your acumen up bruh

  • eastoaklandraider

    JARED JACK IS ANOTHER SCUB WHO CAN PLAY A LIL D

  • Thec

    Steve Corkran‏@CorkOnTheNFL

    Jones runs before he secures ball. Incomplete.

  • Thec

    Vic Tafur‏@VicTafur

    Ball goes through Taiwan Jones’ hands, one of few drops or muffs today

  • PurpleDrank81

    #466 My Boy Ritchie Younaz is out there

  • eastoaklandraider

    RAIDERS ARE MUCH CLOSER THAN DUBS AND THE HAVE BEEN TO THE SB TEN YEARS AGO WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME THE DUBS MADE THE WESTERN FINALS. TOO LONG

  • JLofty

    Thanks PDrank, I watched Jenkins in summer ball, he looked liked he didn’t want to give up mins to Jack.

    Yeah B@uce, I know it’s young man’s game, there’s a fine line being too young tho. Klay got a LOT of pt last year so hopefully he can step it up. HBarnes was a great pick, best in a while (I hope) but they draft young these days what is he like 20?
    I hear were gunna sign Rush back too. He was solid at 6…

  • Mondango from elfuango

    Let in the beach dog clunb and the PPNPP crew with my rasta masta rime goes like this:

    the beach dog has a big dog log
    just dont step in it in the fog

    we like are bizzus hot and tight
    and our mistas can do us right

    we dont care were the possum club
    get down and dirty rub a dub dub

    we git high as a kite can fly
    and then we dont care who we get fly

    brazilian male model, brazilian bikini girl
    we dont care just sit on it and twirl

    SWIZZLE DRIZZLE IN DA HOUSE

  • Thec

    Steve Corkran‏@CorkOnTheNFL

    Van Dyke breaks up pass for Heyward-Bey. Great play. Again.

  • PurpleDrank81

    DVD is out there going crazy…. I didnt expect that.

    Pryor with a couple nice plays in a row

  • eastoaklandraider

    WARRIORS WILL NOT WIN 50 GAMES THEY WILL LOSE 25 GAMES IN THE WEST ALONE

  • PurpleDrank81

    Sometimes it pays to have the same Dentist as my Beloved Raiders

  • JLofty

    I hope Jacoby brings it in 2012. He fell off last year bad…
    Heck my 7 yo son went from being a #12 fan to a 9Ball fan in one season!

  • Thec

    PurpleDrank81 Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:33 pm
    DVD is out there going crazy…. I didnt expect that.

    Pryor with a couple nice plays in a row

    ++++++++

    man put up his twit account…

  • Dan78

    Did any of you guys get your Kings Stanley Cup champions DVD, yet

  • J Hill

    Van Dyke breaks up pass for Heyward-Bey. Great play. Again.

    ————————————————————-

    AGAIN!!!!!

    Better wake up folks, we got a good one here!

  • JLofty

    DVD looked like a raw but talented kid last year. It would not surprise me to see him become a solid CB. Needs a little girth tho…

  • Method To My Madness

    Eastoaklandraider Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:27 pm
    MONTA WHILE SMALL FOR A SG STILL HAD ATOP TEN SCORING AVG AND WOULD BE A STAR IF HE WERE ON A CONTENDER NAME 10 SG BETTER THAN MONTA.
    **************************

    This post right here is exactly wrong with some W’s fans who cried over that loser being dealt….too much of a loser attitude with some W’s fans….you letting iverson lite fool ya….basketball is played on both ends and to answer that…watch me kill ya

    Wade
    JR Smith
    Roy
    Klay
    Joe Johnson
    Harden
    Ginobli
    Afflalo
    Old ass Ray Allen
    Gordon Heyward

    and rookie Jeremy Lamb by season’s end will prove better than Ellis

    And I can go deep than that bruh

  • PurpleDrank81

    Im getting direct texts brotha..

  • Method To My Madness

    Monta is a 6th man plain and simple….he can defend and he doesnt know how to move without the ball

    I did backflips when he was dealt

  • TxRaider210

    Mitchell breaks up pass pounds his chest lol

  • PurpleDrank81

    Thec

    But Vit Tafur and Corky are all confirming everything with there posts

  • TxRaider210
  • Method To My Madness

    Eastoaklandraider Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:29 pm
    JARED JACK IS ANOTHER SCUB WHO CAN PLAY A LIL D
    **********************

    being a backup who can play D at the guard position deserves and demands your respect if you had basketball IQ

  • Thec

    PurpleDrank81 Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:36 pm
    Im getting direct texts brotha..

    ++++++

    Good lookin out Bruh…

  • Thec

    I got Tafur, Paul G, Steve, and Jerry mac on Twit right now.

  • Thec

    Steve Corkran‏@CorkOnTheNFL

    McClain all over short pass for Myers.

    ++++++++

    McCheese sighting, sort of like bigfoot

  • Method To My Madness

    Eastoaklandraider Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:33 pm
    WARRIORS WILL NOT WIN 50 GAMES THEY WILL LOSE 25 GAMES IN THE WEST ALONE
    *********************8

    50-32 this season…Klay will damn near be an all star and barnes on all rookie team

    You just dont know real basketball due to what the W’s have been putting on the floor in your lifetime

  • Thec

    bigfoot does exist btw…lol

  • RAIDERMAN99

    Al loved his ‘man to man’, bump and run, press coverage.

    IMO, that more than anything else was the Raider trademark on defense.

    I loved that shiit.

    Problem was, the NFL tightened the rules governing CB play and the ultra agressive, bump and run Raider style became less effective.

    Still, Al always invested heavily in corners. Not always successfully, but we’ve had some GREAT ones. Probably more than any other team in the NFL.

    Had a chance to talk to Willie Brown a few years ago.

    Pissed him off big time when I told him he was only the 3rd best Raider corner of all-time.

    He wanted to know who was better.

    Told him I ranked Hayes and Haynes above him.

    Of course, he disagreed.

    No matter how you rank them, one thing’s for sure – the Raids have been blessed with some outstanding corners throughout the years.

  • Missus Beeecham

    HOLLA

    bring that gallon of wine ova hear holla, com’on girlfriend, holla. u know my ex could learn a thing or two from my girlfriend. we aint got nuthin to hide

    HOLLA

  • TxRaider210

    Messin’ with Sasquatch!

  • Method To My Madness

    EastOak…you have to understand basketball first to realize the W’s will be causing problems this season…especially when teams come to Oakland…you’re a Monta lover like my cousin…and he dont know basketball that great either…so you arent alone

  • Thec

    jerry is not posting. Either lost his iphone, had it taken by Raid security, or dropped it in the punch bowl.