Chalk Jameel McClain!(/team/roster/jameel-mcclain/1b9210af-8755-4fdb-886e-580e37c99afe/ "Jameel McClain")'s name among the list of talented, young linebackers in the Ravens' stable.
In his first NFL snap from scrimmage last week, the undrafted free agent out of Syracuse tore through the line to take down Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell for a safety.
Even though many outsiders hadn't realized what McClain, 23, could do if given the opportunity, those in the Ravens' training facility expected him to contribute.
Known for his football smarts and tough demeanor, McClain was a top priority for Baltimore's rookie recruiters once the draft ended.
"We saw he wasn't drafted. He was our No. 1 guy on defense, as far as a free agent goes," said defensive coordinator **Rex Ryan**. "I mean, we put everybody on him that we had. We tried to recruit him with Ozzie [Newsome] and Harbs [John Harbaugh], everybody. We threw the big hitters at him, and we were fortunate to get him."
At 6-foot-1, 250 pounds, McClain was a college defensive end, but also fit perfectly in the mold of the hybrid players that thrive under Ryan's system.
McClain first battled his way onto the field through solid special teams play, while his mental acuity allowed the Ravens to use him as a backup at two linebacker positions. He's played in all seven games this year, but notched four of his six special teams stops against the Raiders, adding the sack/safety and two tackles on defense.
"He's a guy that, really in college, he played defensive tackle, defensive end," Ryan noted. "They threw him all over, kind of like what we're doing. But we like the way he plays the game.
"We never realized that he was going to be this smart and could learn our system, which I think is fairly complicated if you're learning multiple spots, and he picked it up really well."
A former amateur boxer and Gold Gloves competitor from Philadelphia, McClain's workman-like attitude has impressed his teammates, as well.
"Jameel is a true Raven," nine-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis!(/team/roster/ray-lewis/1c6d5ed3-fe49-4a89-a6b5-9e358e906ae7/ "Ray Lewis") said. "He practices like that, and he is always after the ball. He comes to work with his hard hat every day. You just love to see kids step in and make plays like that."
Head coach **John Harbaugh** wasn't expecting to have cornerback **Chris McAlister** this weekend against the Cleveland Browns, but he was at least "optimistic" about Samari Rolle’s status earlier this week.
However, after three days of practicing in a red non-contact jersey, Rolle was given little chance for Sunday.
"We haven't really had him do any of the contact stuff this week," Harbaugh said. "But he's done really well. I don't think he's real comfortable with it right now, so we'll say doubtful."
Rolle has been playing it cautious since having surgery on his neck earlier this season.
"It's mostly how I feel," stated the 11-year veteran. "It was neck surgery, but you don't play with the neck. I won't know until I hit somebody. We'll see how it goes."
McAlister sought a second opinion on his sore knee that has bothered him since training camp. Injured Reserve could be a possibility, which would end McAlister's year.
"He was in the meetings this morning," Harbaugh said Friday. "He did not practice with the knee, so I don't have any new update at this point."
"Frank, Fabian and Corey have done a good job," Rolle said. "Fortunately, we have a winning record, but in the upcoming weeks we're going to play some really good receivers. We need to be full-strength."
More on Injuries
Both players were limited in Friday's practice, but Gaither simply watched from the sidelines during the portion open to the media, with Terry manning left tackle. There was also talk after right guard Marshal Yanda!(/team/roster/marshal-yanda/a93162da-9ca5-4ec8-ad51-c02253b292c1/ "Marshal Yanda") was placed on IR three weeks ago that Terry could move inside to guard next to right tackle Willie Anderson.
"I think Adam has a good chance to play. We'll just have to see how he responds to the three days of practice, but he's prepared to play."
There are many similarities between Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco!(/team/roster/joe-flacco/3e20766f-6520-4ca1-9901-44389aaea8b8/ "Joe Flacco") and his counterpart Derek Anderson with the Browns. Both are 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds. Both were Ravens draft picks. And, both have cannons for right arms. Ryan sees a slight difference, however. "Anderson] can zip it, but I don’t know if he’s got quite the arm that Joe has,” Ryan said. “But he’s got a strong arm, that’s for sure.” … With the swirling winds that Cleveland Browns Stadium is known for affecting the kicking game, special teams coordinator [**Jerry Rosburg** expects to do a lot of pre-game testing with punter Sam Koch!(/team/roster/sam-koch/5db3abab-9670-4b0b-93b7-286dcac1e69c/ "Sam Koch"). "It's really unpredictable," Rosburg explained. "You have to get out there and feel it because sometimes it's going in two directions at the same time. So we'll have to figure it out when we get there because in a certain part of the field it's blowing in one direction, and the other part of the field it's blowing in another direction." … Offensive coordinator **Cam Cameron** said 345-pound defensive tackle Haloti Ngata!(/team/roster/haloti-ngata/9225ada6-37a5-4b66-9776-1b6e4df2fb50/ "Haloti Ngata") is definitely in the mix for some offensive snaps. "One of the first things when I got here, Rex said, 'If you need any defensive guys, feel free,'" Cameron said with a laugh. "That's the first time I've ever heard that. I don't know if he anticipated the fact that we were going to take him up on it." Cameron then admitted that he has made use of six to eight defenders in practice. … The Ravens are aiming to sweep Cleveland for the fifth time ever. The last time Baltimore took the season series came in 2006.