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

McClain on limited role: 'I feel good about it'
October 18, 2012, 10:34 pm
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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.