Raiders key matchup No. 3: McClain vs. Jones-Drew

October 19, 2012, 8:15 pm
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Jaguars matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (CBS), at O.co Coliseum.Raiders LB Rolando McClain vs. Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-DrewTale of the tape:
McClain (55): 6-foot-4, 259 pounds, fourth season, Alabama
Jones-Drew (32): 5-foot-7, 210 pounds, seventh season, UCLAALAMEDA -- Wait, what? Wasn't Rolando McClain just "benched" in the Raiders' last game by playing only in 17 often team's 55 defensive snaps?Well, yeah, but that was against a pass-happy offense in Atlanta. Jacksonville, though, is a run-first outfit that features the diminutive three-time Pro Bowler from Antioch and De La Salle High School. And with Maurice Jones-Drew serving as the Jaguars' bell cow, and McClain playing primarily against the run, these two will cross paths on Sunday."He does everything well," McClain said of Jones-Drew. "Thats the characteristic of a good back. He does everything well. He runs inside, he can run outside, he has the speed, he has the power to do it all. Hes a complete back."RELATED: Raiders' status report for Jacksonville game
Two years ago, Jones-Drew rushed for 101 yards in the Jaguars' 38-31 victory over the Raiders in Jacksonville. McClain did not play in that game due to a foot injury."Thats all they did was run the ball," McClain said. "They had 200-plus yards. That was the game. They had the ball a lot. We had to stop the run and we didnt. They scored. They ran the ball to keep us off the field."Thats all I remember is them running the ball. You have to take that personally. We have to go out and try to at least stop that run. If you dont do anything else, stop the run, let them know you cant do this two times in a row."Jones-Drew is averaging 4.9 yards per carry, the second-highest of his career, after sitting out training camp as a contract hold out. The East Bay native, who grew up a fan of Raiders running back Napoleon Kaufman has only played in the Coliseum once in his life -- in high school -- and having also played at UCLA, is just 1-4 in games in the Bay Area ever since.So how did missing the entire preseason affect him?"It didnt hurt at all," he said. "Ive been playing football for a long time, and so I think more than anything, it didnt allow me to take those unnecessary hits you get during training camp and OTAs and things like that, so I was much fresher coming in. I trained while I was away just as if I was in training camp, two or three a days, or whatever I could to keep my body, so when I did come back I could be in the best shape possible."RELATED: Raiders avoid blackout, Jags game to be televised locallyJones-Drew rushed for a career high-tying 177 yards in Week 3 at Indianapolis."He's short, and he's not tiny," said Raiders coach Dennis Allen. "He's pretty-well put together. he's an outstanding running backalthough he's not tall, he's not a little back at all. He's a solid back."The biggest thing is, you've got to be able to wrap this guy up because he just pings off of people like a pinball."Jones-Drew said he expects to have about 50 people at the game."Its funny," he said, "theyre more, I guess die-hard football fans than I am, and a bunch of them are Raiders fans, so thats what I was growing up. Theyre going to be torn but I hope they choose the right way."Were going to have to bring our hard hats. Its going to be tough game. We know it's going to crazy. I tell everybody here how crazy the fans are (in Oakland), so its going to be nice. And Its going to be a great challenge for us. We cant back down from it. Were going to be ready to go out there and play."But will McClain?