Rolando McClain has been informed by the Oakland Raiders he will be released on Thursday.
The middle linebacker is in his third year out of Alabama and has 60 tackles this season for the Silver and Black. It is the second linebacker Oakland has cut in the past week after Aaron Curry was released on Nov. 20. McClain had 85 tackles as a rookie in 2010 and improved last season while picking up 99 tackles. McClain missed practice on Wednesday for undisclosed reasons and coach Dennis Allen would not elaborate on the rationale. The newly-signed Omar Gaither is expected to start Sunday at middle linebacker.
McClain has struggled this season under the new defensive system and the release allows him to get a fresh start. He is expected to be picked up on the waiver wire by some team because of his upside. He was the eighth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft after a monster career as a member of the Crimson Tide.
The move signifies the Raiders’ intention to overhaul their defense which has struggled this season. Oakland is ranked 24th against the pass and 28th against the run and is giving up more than 33 points per game. One can expect defense to be a top priority in next April’s draft for Oakland, especially for a defensive minded coach like Allen.
The Raiders have been a disappointment this season when many prognosticators picked them as the sleeper playoff team. The team’s play has slacked off in recent weeks while mired in a four-game losing streak in which they have given up 42 points per game. With the defense being gashed through the air and on the ground, a radical move needed to be made and the Raiders made that move by releasing McClain.