He is probably the most enigmatic and controversial of the Raiders and is sure to create arguments over his performance and value to the team.
What is clear is that he has enormous talent; the reason he was chosen #8 overall is because of this combination of physical skills. He's a big and powerful guy who is surprisingly nimble on his feet and whose coverage ability is shocking; a 255 lb guy shouldn't move downfield like that, though he displays LB-hands on too many occasions (he probably had at least 3 ints). And yet there were also too many times last year that he notably underperformed or made costly mistakes. Impressive many times and frustrating all too many other times.
The injury suffered in week 5 and then aggravated in week 7 was a problem. I'm sure that if he were playing on a fully healthy leg, he makes that play against Calvin Johnson in Week 15. And we missed him terribly against the Tebow-Broncos in week 9; I think we win that game with McClain instead of Blackstock.
This coming year is a make-or-break year for McClain. He has the ability to be a centerpiece to our defense, but he's going to have to take the next step and really elevate his performance. He could be a special player and he and Aaron Curry have skills that complement each other very well.
Apr 2 is when the it all starts! I'm rooting for him to come thru.
a side note: You'll see a few plays where McClain is totally away from the ball; I put these in because he is helping out and giving a good chuck to a player and it's something that we might miss, though it's an important part of the game and his contribution to the pass defense. The one against KC Week 16 is my fave of these; he puts the guy on his knees. Now THAT is a "bump" !
Here are some blog posts on McClain's season:
Missed Tackles : http://www.raiders.ninjagoro.com/?p=2494
Made Tackles : http://www.raiders.ninjagoro.com/?p=2501
Pass Defense : http://www.raiders.ninjagoro.com/?p=2515
- Ninja Goro -