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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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  • fingers

    Lol… I got a C Wood jersey on….. Haven’t worn it in a few yrs

  • Method To My Madness

    anyhow im outro….yall be good

    RAIIIIIIIDDDDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRSSSSSSSS

    Dubs!

    and the Swingin A’s

    Code Black 2012

  • TxRaider210

    Thec Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    jerry is not posting. Either lost his iphone, had it taken by Raid security, or dropped it in the punch bowl.
    ————–
    Or the TSA got him.lol

  • eastoaklandraider

    Wade- yes
    JR Smith- no not even close
    Roy- bad knees sorry no
    Klay- not even in the convo
    Joe Johnson-about a tie
    Harden-no just on a good team
    Ginobli-in years past
    Afflalo-you are reaching for real
    Old ass Ray Allen- in years past
    Gordon Heyward-who?

  • Thec

    LTR B, be safe

  • fingers

    Hey… Those A’s been ballin

  • Dan78

    Is meyers doing any good at TE

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    “@CorkOnTheNFL: Mike Mitchell breaks up pass, pounds chest with fist.” >> Mitchell probably pounds his chest when he pours morning cereal
    $$$$$$$$
    LMAO
    That’s funny!

  • eastoaklandraider

    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
    ———————–
    its painfully obvious u dnt knw bball if your excited for the dubs lol.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    Seems kinda late to still be practicing.

  • TxRaider210

    Gents, just know that I value everyone on this blog’s opinion’s on the Raiders over Gannon’s who has us ranked 24th. What a douchey prediction.lol

  • R8ER MIKE

    Good evening NATION!!
    and my GreenParty brothers!!!!

  • R8ER MIKE

    O dog!!
    what’s up V.P??

  • Thec

    Steve Corkran‏@CorkOnTheNFL

    Criner among sizable group fielding punts.

  • Thec

    KoolKell Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:46 pm
    Seems kinda late to still be practicing.

    +++++++

    Started at 2:30, will end at 5.

  • eastoaklandraider

    im out nation. GOOD NIGHT NOW

  • Thec

    Criner and Derek Carrier back with Moore and Ford on punt returns now. Marquette King has blasted a couple a la Shane

  • The Beeech Dawg

    KoolKell Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Seems kinda late to still be practicing

    —————

    Krappy you gotta be looking forward to seeing Brian the Genital face to face at Friday’s practice

    Be sure to wear that Kane button down shirt so he’ll recognize you

  • Thec

    LTR East, be safe

  • TxRaider210

    O
    Was it you who posted a jersey review on NFLSHOP about them being crappy quality? The person’s handle was the same as yours.lol

  • R8ER MIKE

    Why all hate for Gannon??
    Should I burn his Jersey too??

  • Thec

    Marquette King with 5.2 seconds of hangtime on punt

  • TxRaider210

    Gannon has the Raiders ranked 24-25th, I think that’s absurd.lol

  • RAIDERMAN99

    Keep Gannon away from TP.

    Keep Matt Lice away too.

    TP might catch the disease known as noodlearmitis.

  • R8ER MIKE

    Beeech Dawg!
    full PMPP in effect.!!

  • The Beeech Dawg

    R8ER MIKE Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Good evening NATION!!
    and my GreenParty brothers!!!!

    ———-

    PMPP IN FULL EFFECT

  • Dan78

    Hey Beech did you get you KIngs Stanley Cup DvD?

  • The Beeech Dawg

    R8 i’ll be toking some sticky greens from Santa Cruz in about 10 mins

    Gotta get my swag on

    Then it’s time for some Ciroc and Smokey Robinson, my hizzies wanna keep it classy on a Tues

    Wizzle

  • ottocrat

    RoSuckdo McDack

  • Thec

    Steve Corkran‏@CorkOnTheNFL

    Mitchell steps in front of pass for Criner, intercepts Palmer. Great read, react.

  • The Beeech Dawg

    Dan78 Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Hey Beech did you get you KIngs Stanley Cup DvD?

    ———-

    D Nizzle

    No homie, I gots to get me some of that action

    When does it come out?

  • TxRaider210

    Mitchell wants a job!

  • fingers

    Rated the Raiders at 25th…..Lol… Gannon’s gonna be a grumpy old man at…. This teams gonna be better than 25th…

  • TxRaider210

    533
    Even if the Raiders win the division, which they should, playoffs and fk the 25th stuff!

  • Thec

    TxRaider210 Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:56 pm
    Mitchell wants a job!

    +++++++++

    Yeah, so far he s having a good camp.

  • Thec

    RAIDERMAN99 Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:52 pm
    Keep Gannon away from TP.

    Keep Matt Lice away too.

    TP might catch the disease known as noodlearmitis.

    +++++++++

    lol

  • Dan78

    Its out already

  • TxRaider210

    Thec Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    TxRaider210 Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 4:56 pm
    Mitchell wants a job!

    +++++++++

    Yeah, so far he s having a good camp.
    ————-
    Yeah he needs to, always pulled for the guy, maybe they’re all hyped about the change….

  • Thec

    Mitchell nice read and interception return for a TD … big cut back and diagonal run across field by McFadden … Palmer underthrows DHB deep

  • Dan78

    Ok fellas will catch up tomorrow

  • Thec

    WR Denarious Moore, who suffered a hamstring injury during minicamp, appears to be battling a leg issue during practice.

  • Thec

    LTE DAN, be safe

  • Thec

    thats it, practice over…

  • fingers

    Tx.. Agree… I never buy into that Rate the Raiders crap…

  • Thec

    Steve C did a great job today with the twits, and pics.

    Jerry ya need a new iphone…

  • http://InsidetheOaklandRaiders Goldie7

    Dang J you’re not thinking about your Dodgers either? The Dodgers are in 1st place right? Well, I’m thinking about my Yankees. I love all 3 of my teams(Raiders, lakers and Yankees)equally.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    From Corky’s tweets it sounds like DVD is today’s standout.

    Not sold on Spencer. Was hoping DVD would beat him out and predicted he would.

    Don’t believe DVD will hold up well against the run, but you can see the potential for blanket coverage.

    Anyone really want to see Spencer starting ?

  • TxRaider210

    Fingers

    How can he rate the Raiders without pads on? Straight stupid.lol

  • Dan78

    Lates, PMPP see ya at beach…..Santa Monica….zipppp

  • TxRaider210

    Hope DMoore gets his leg issue under control.