ALAMEDA -- You could make a compelling argument that Rolando McClain has been the most pleasant surprise on the Raiders' defense throughout the preseason."We've got him in some positions where we allow him to make plays," said coach Dennis Allen, "and he's really excited about that aspect."Sure, he's shot the wrong gap on occasion and he's still had trouble shedding the occasional block, but the middle linebacker has had more positive plays than negative through three exhibition games. Even with the specter of a potential NFL-mandated suspension still looming.So how have the Raiders not allowed the potential of losing the quarterback of their defense become a distraction?"We can't sit around here and say, 'Well, what if, what if, what if,'" Allen said. "We've got plans in place, and if and when that situation arises, then we'll act on it. But I'm not going to spend my whole time trying to figure out what we're going to do with it."The NFL has said it is still reviewing the situation, even as McClain has already been convicted of third-degree assault, menacing, discharging a handgun in city limits and reckless endangerment. His 180-day sentence is under appeal.Still, Oakland has given McClain, who is due to make a base salary of 970,000 this season but 4.005 million next year, a clean slate. And if a suspension does come from Commissioner Roger Goodell's office, the Raiders will treat McClain's absence like an injury."Very similar," Allen said. "Again, it's a next-man-up philosophy. Because we're going to play the games and it doesn't matter -- injuries, suspension, whatever -- we're going to play the games. We're going to have to find guys that can get out there and play."McClain, who is again not speaking to the media, has 10 tackles this preseason, including six solo. And has apparently become more of a team leader."I have been pleased," Allen said. "Hey, listen, he's still got work to do. He still needs to get better at certain things. We're constantly coaching, but that's part of what our job is. All of us have to get better. We're working on different things and he's been coming to work every day with the right attitude, trying to get better. And that's all we can ask out of anybody."