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Old 10-17-2012, 05:58 PM   #1
Opthomas Prime
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Default Another bust for the Raiders "Less Rolando McClain is better for Raiders as LB loses play time"


ALAMEDA -- Raiders coach Dennis Allen talked about making a few "tweaks" during the bye week. One of those changes manifested itself in rookie linebacker Miles Burris supplanting Rolando McClain in the nickel defense.

In the first four games, Burris was the linebacker coming off the field whenever the Raiders went with an extra defensive back in their so-called nickel package. McClain became that guy Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

McClain's snaps dropped from 73 snaps against Denver on Sept. 30 to 17 against the Falcons on Sunday.

By comparison, Burris played 27 of the 77 snaps against the Broncos and all 55 against the Falcons.

Allen said he doesn't foresee getting away from this alignment, given how well Burris played against the Falcons.

"Every week, we're going to evaluate and see where we're at, but he did enough to earn the right to be back out there in nickel situations," Allen said.

McClain, a first-round draft pick in 2010, has started 34 of 37 games and arrived as the projected linchpin of the Raiders defense.

In Burris, Allen sees a young player who gets better each game.

"He's not a repeat mistake offender," Allen said. "He makes the corrections, understands football and concepts and makes adjustments."

In the postgame locker room, McClain was relatively pleased with how the defense performed.

"We played pretty good this week," McClain said. "We were locked in, had a very good week ofpractice, coming off the bye week. But they're a good team, and they made the plays they needed at the times they needed them."

With the way Reggie McKenzie has cleaned house it wouldn’t at all be surprising to see the Raiders part ways with Rolando McClain. With a possible jail sentence looming there is already reason to believe the Raiders will be Rolando-less at some point be it either jail time or a league mandated suspension. But beyond that there is now some evidence of Dennis Allen slowly phasing McClain out of Oakland.

During the bye week Allen and his staff took a good look at the current roster to sort things out in order to improve on the awful showing during the first month of the season. Though they didn’t win there was plenty of improvement across the board during Oakland’s heartbreaking loss in Atlanta.

One such area in which the Raiders improved mightily was getting the Falcons off the field on third down. A big part of that was due to the presence of Miles Burris in Oakland’s nickel package. That would be the same rookie that worked his way into the starting lineup once Aaron Curry was out of action and now threatens to take even more reps from McClain.

Coming out of Alabama the book on McClain was always that he was much better against the run than he was defending the pass. Not much has changed in that department after nearly two and a half years into his pro career. Even more concerning is that McClain hasn’t at all been as advertised in regards to his prowess defending the run. In fact he seems to be playing the worst ball of his career under the new Raiders regime.

With Curry set to rejoin the team in practice this week and Burris poised to pilfer even more reps we could be looking at the end of McClain’s days in the East Bay. Raider Nation wasn’t too impressed with McClain’s jogging act during the lopsided loss in Denver. Now it would appear the coaching staff is prepared to play McClain less and less in hopes of getting more production out of a disappointing yet hopefully improving defense.

While Burris is only getting McClain’s snaps in nickel packages it feels like it’s only a matter of time until Burris or even Curry get a shot at starting in the middle thus removing McClain from the field on all downs.
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