McClain on limited role: 'I feel good about it'


McClain on limited role: 'I feel good about it'

ALAMEDA -- Having played in a season-low 17 snaps against Atlanta last week, Raiders middle linebacker Rolando McClain played the part of good soldier Thursday and insisted he was fine with the development.Even as it might be seen as a demotion, of sorts."I just didnt play in nickel (defense)," McClain told four reporters at his locker. "They played a lot more nickel. I feel good about it."It was 17 plays and I had, I dont know, a ratio of every one-and-a-half plays I made some type of impact-type play. I think thats pretty danged good. It is what it is. They wanted Miles (Burris) to go in. Thats perfectly fine with me. The situation is what it is."Still, it was obvious McClain was not all that thrilled with the development. He averaged 67.8 snaps in the Raiders' first four games and he no longer wears the mic in his helmet that allows one player to communicate with the sideline. That "honor" now goes to Philip Wheeler.RELATED: McClain thrives in limited role
So was it a tough adjustment to not play as much?"I dont know," McClain said. "It makes my job easy, just focus on base (defense) whenever that is and go from there. You understand the situation, you understand the transition whatever that may be. Youre not naive to the fact of whats going on. But at the same time youre still a team player. If coach thinks thats the best thing for the defense then by all means, do it. I can focus on the base downs and thats what I put my energy toward."In fact, coach Dennis Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, as well as Wheeler, insisted McClain adjusted well. Both mentally and physically. Besides, McClain said he knew the change was coming as it was installed in the bye week."He stepped up and he came and played when he was called to play and he made a couple of great plays in base (4-3 defense)," Wheeler said. "I think he played well and I think hes stepping it up."Many have suggested that McClain had better energy, having played fewer snaps."You cant really tell," McClain said. "You make the plays that are there to make. Every ball doesnt come into your area. Every run doesnt come your way. Youre not able to make every tackle. I dont know how you can answer that question."McClain, the No. 8 overall pick of the 2010 draft as the Butkus Award winner out of Alabama, is making a a base salary of 970,000 this season, though it is scheduled to go up to 4.005 million in 2013, 5.805 million in 2014 and down to 2.665 million in 2015.He has yet to force or recover a fumble in his NFL career.And as such, he has become a target of CSN California Raiders analyst and former Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski, who has called McClain a "puppy hunter" before saying this week he did not deserve to be called by his first name.RELATED: Romo goes after 'Ro' on CSN California
Asked if he knew of Romanowski, McClain said he did not, and said he had not heard of the four-time Super Bowl winner's, ahem, critiques."I dont keep up with what people say outside here," McClain said. "Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Im sure if I knew him, I could say things about him. I dont. I dont righteously care."Care about this, then: with the run-first Jacksonville Jaguars coming to Oakland this weekend, the Raiders figure to employ more base defense, meaning more snaps for McClain.

Mayor Schaaf on Raiders relocation: 'Oakland has something no other city ever will'

Mayor Schaaf on Raiders relocation: 'Oakland has something no other city ever will'

The Oakland Raiders have officially filed for relocation to Las Vegas. And Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has responded. 

“It’s no surprise that the Raiders have filed for relocation," Schaaf said in a statement. "Oakland welcomes the chance to show them and the NFL’s other owners why Oakland is the only home for the Raiders and always will be.

“Our winning team of the Lott Group, the County and my colleagues on the Oakland City Council has accomplished so much in the last few months. We’ve identified the mechanisms to responsibly finance public infrastructure improvements, we have in the Lott Group a private partner prepared to finance stadium construction, and we have an entitled site for a world-class NFL stadium and new development that enhances fan experience while invigorating East Oakland's economy. 

“But this isn’t all Oakland has to offer. Oakland’s Raiders stadium will be on the most transit-accessible site in the nation, in the sixth largest television market, and in one of the wealthiest and most innovative regions in the world. But above all else, Oakland has something no other city ever will -- a die-hard fan base that is loyal and true to the Raiders and wants to see them stay here in Oakland where they were founded. Only Oakland brings the Raiders and the NFL a competitive stadium proposal, along with legacy and loyalty.

“I look forward to the League giving our team a chance to compete.”

Now that the fate of the Raiders' relocation is in the hands of the NFL owners, a vote could come at the NFL owners meetings in late March. It’s uncertain whether Davis has the votes needed to relocate, but there has been momentum building for such a move over the past several months.

Davis has said that, even if the Raiders are approved for relocation, he plans on playing in Oakland the next few years while a Las Vegas stadium is built. The team has already sent out season ticket pricing to fans for the 2017 season. The Raiders have one-year team options to play Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

The Las Vegas stadium isn’t expected to be ready until the 2020 season.

The Office of the Mayor Libby Schaaf and Scott Bair contributed to this report.


McKenzie still not over Raiders playoff loss, striving 'to hold up the trophy'

McKenzie still not over Raiders playoff loss, striving 'to hold up the trophy'

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie acknowledged being named the NFL’s executive of the year was a big deal. It’s the highest individual honor bestowed on a personnel man.

Not in McKenzie’s eyes. His name’s on the plaque, but the general manger considers it a team honor. It takes a village to raise a roster, something McKenzie knows after working through the ranks.

“The acknowledgement, to me, is for the organization, from the top down,” McKenzie said. “From the patience and the vision together with me and (owner Mark Davis) on through the work, the daily work of the coaches and players and to play on Sunday. That’s what the acknowledgement is really all about.

“You see the entire organization working together to win. That’s what I see. It’s an accomplishment from the standpoint that we’re winning now. That’s what I feel good about. That’s why this award is special. It’s a team award, but it’s special to me that this thing is resulting into wins.”

The Raiders went 12-4 in 2016 and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 season. That postseason experience was not positive. The Raiders got waxed in Houston, completing a brutal two-loss stretch where an AFC West title was lost and the season formally ended.

The downward spiral started in Week 16, after quarterback Derek Carr broke his fibula. Backup Matt McGloin played poorly and then hurt his shoulder the next game, which forced the Raiders to start rookie Connor Cook against Houston.

A loss seemed likely – Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn was also sidelined – but that didn’t make it easier for McKenzie to handle.

“Well, I’m still getting over it, (likely) until I win my next game,” McKenzie said. “It’s tough anytime you lose your last game. It’s going to eat at you and that’s one thing about being a player, being associated in this, it’s the drive for the next game. What can I do to help us win that next game? And that’s the hope we have now, is the opportunity to play again, you know? Albeit, in ’17, but that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to set the course for this ’17 season. So, it’s going to eat at you until then.”

It’s that drive that pushed McKenzie during difficult times, when talent piled up but didn’t translate to wins. Seeing the fruits of that labor is incredibly gratifying for McKenzie and staff. This award is part of that – to the victor go the spoils – though the end goal remains out of reach and will until the Raiders win a Super Bowl.

“Nobody likes losing, so I get that. If you really believe in what you’re doing and you’re supported, the hope is to start to win games, and to get to the playoffs is a step,” McKenzie said. “We feel good about that, but we’re only scratching the surface. We still want to hold up the trophy. That’s what we’re going to continue to strive to do. That’s our next step. We need to win playoff games.”