Statistically, Jameel McClain recorded one of his best performances in the Ravens' 20-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns last Sunday. The inside linebacker led the defense in tackles with seven, and he recovered a fumble that the offense converted into a touchdown in the second quarter.
Characteristically, McClain declined to accept much credit for his showing.
"I don't know if I would say it's my best one," he said after Friday's practice. "I had a good game against the Browns the last time, but it was overshadowed because of the situation. I'm just out there trying to improve with every chance I get. So if it was the best, that would be up to you to determine."The Ravens are beginning to see the fruits of their decision to start McClain alongside 11-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis. McClain, an undrafted rookie in 2008, ranks third on the team in tackles with 83 and has made 14 of 15 starts.
McClain, who has also posted a sack, said he is finding his groove with each passing game.
"Definitely more comfortable, and that's all that matters," McClain said. "Any time you get more time [to play], you can get into a comfort zone, and you can run around and do some different things and show some different looks. That's basically the zone I'm trying to get to."
Perhaps the only regret McClain has occurred last Sunday when he was pushed out of bounds by Browns offensive tackle John St. Clair after collecting the fumble caused by cornerback Chris Carr.
McClain, who returned the fumble nine yards to Cleveland's 20-yard line, said he was thinking, "End zone."
"I'm scooping and scoring, man," he said. "I'm going by the Raven Rule. Once we touch the ball, we're going from defense to offense. But sadly, the tackle was there to push me out. The coaches have given me a lot for it, for being pushed out by an offensive tackle. But he was right there. There will be another opportunity, and I'll take it to the house."