Around the NFL  

 

With pressure off, Rolando McClain thriving in Dallas

Print

Maybe playing on a banged-up, second-rate Dallas Cowboys defense was exactly what Rolando McClain needed to turn around an NFL career he's personally retired from, twice.

The linebacker has been far and away the Cowboys' best defensive player through two weeks. He leads the team in tackles and has a sack, a pass deflection and one of the most acrobatic interceptions you'll see by a linebacker.

Despite the Cowboys being the most Hollywood team in the NFL, owner Jerry Jones said the toned-down expectations have allowed McClain to flourish in Dallas.

"When you're drafted that high and you come out of the SEC, you're defensive player of the year, you played at Alabama, the expectations are so high," Jones told KRLD-FM on Tuesday, per The Dallas Morning News. "And some of us have different levels, different ways that we handle people's expectations.

"Rolando made it real clear that he wanted to be part of a team. He wanted to do his part. He wanted his teammates to count on him. But he didn't necessarily want to be viewed as the guy to come in here and play at a Superman (level) -- well, I don't mean that. He wants to play at that level but he didn't want to be viewed as that's what's expected of him on every play. That's the role that he had."

Jones added he believes after 18 months away from football, McClain is just scratching the surface of his potential this season.

Whether or not the low expectations of a bad Cowboys defense are allowing McClain to play without worry, he's finally displaying the promise that made him a high-end draft pick.

The latest "Around The NFL Podcast" recaps every Sunday game from an upset-heavy Week 2 in the NFL, and considers what RGIII's injury could mean for the Redskins.

Print