Does J.McClain have the edge on ILB?

So does Jameel McClain’s second consecutive start at inside linebacker suggest that he has a step up on Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden to start at the same position when the Ravens open the regular season against the New York Jets on Sept. 13?

Not if you listen to McClain, who made three tackles and registered two quarterback hurries in the team's 23-3 win against the Washington Redskins Saturday night.

"I wouldn't know about the 'step up,'" McClain said. "That's for the coaches to determine. We're all just going out there and playing. We've got three good guys, and not to forget about Jason Phillips and Prescott Burgess, we all went out there and played a good game. It just showed the quality that we have in the linebacker group."


McClain's appearance was somewhat of a surprise as Gooden spent Tuesday running with the first defense and Ellerbe lined with the first defense on Thursday.

But Gooden, who made one tackle Saturday night, explained that his presence on Tuesday was based on the offense using three- and four-wide receiver sets.


"I was basically in because if a team comes out in three-wides or four-wides, I'm in the game," he said. "That's how I'll start off. But if they're in base, we've got big Dannell and Jameel. So those guys go in on those downs. So we've got a rotation going. That way, we can all contribute on special teams and also play well on D."

As has been the pattern, no announcement will be made on who will get the start against the New York Giants on Saturday night. McClain said the players won't stress out about the uncertainty.

"You never know what they expect out of this game," he said. "So to be surprised or to feel like it was something that was automatically going to happen, that's not how I was looking at it. The coaches made the decision, and I went out there and played my part, and the other guys went out there and played well, too."

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