“All I could do was believe in myself and believe in what I was capable of doing,” stated Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain seven days ago, upon returning to practice.
After being sidelined for over 10 months with a spinal contusion he suffered against the Washington Redskins, McClain was back in action on Sunday against the Steelers.
When starter Josh Bynes was unable to play due to an infection in his finger that required surgery, McClain received the nod to start over rookie Arthur Brown, a move that shocked many (including this reporter).
“I thought he played a good game,” coach Harbaugh said at Monday’s presser. “Given the circumstances probably played really well. Hadn’t played in a long time, hadn’t practiced much, was thrown into a situation because of Josh’s situation where he had to play quite a few snaps. He did a solid job, and he’s only going to get better from here on out. He came out of it healthy, so that’s important.”
At the very least I figured they would ease McClain back in, however that was not the case. McClain played 30 of the team’s 57 snaps compared to Arthur Brown’s 28. McClain recorded six solo tackles against the Steelers while Brown had just two.
I have been wondering where McClain was going to fit into this new Ravens defense once he returned and it remains to be seen once Bynes returns. Yes that’s right – another question for the coaching staff to answer during the bye week.
For a team that spent an offseason rebuilding the run defense – likely assuming they would be without McClain – the veteran’s depth and experience should be an asset. As a full-time starter the past three years, McClain has a combined 234 tackles and two sacks.
McClain has fought back from an injury that many people thought would end his career, exemplifying his hunger to play. Perhaps a new found football life, with a second chance to shine?
One thing is for sure – this team needs all the help it can get on both sides of the ball. Welcome back Jameel!!
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