With the loss of Jon Beason to injury, Jameel McClain has taken over his [Beason's] role in the New York Giants defense. Not only as the veteran presence on the field, but also in the locker room. He has also become a go-to guy for the media after games.
Despite forcing three turnovers and two sacks to go with a pair of un-recovered fumbles, the defense's performance can't be described as anything other than "dismal".
His first order of business was an act of contrition for avoiding the media immediately after the game.
"I actually was in rush to get out. I apologize. I apologize to all of you. I shouldn't handle myself that way, regardless if I have to go somewhere or not. I know this is my responsibility and I should own up to that every time. I was 100 percent disappointed. I was kind of raised in a household where if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. In this profession, that really doesn't work. I apologize to you all for doing that."
The next thing McClain addressed was the play of the defense, and just what went so historically wrong.
"We just didn't play sound football. People weren't where they were supposed to be, myself included. I always look at myself first. There was a time or two where I wasn't in the position that I was supposed to be in to help the defense. We really didn't play solid football. That is it in a nutshell. As a starting linebacker or as any linebacker, it is anybody on this defense, even someone who was watching the game, no one likes that feeling. No one wants records to be set on them, no one."
He went on to defend the coaches, and put the onus of the performance squarely on the players.
"We were prepared. We were definitely prepared. Coach had a great game plan. The game changes. There always will be a few surprises. We can't predict exactly what they are going to do. They did have a few wrinkles that we did not know of. Within those wrinkles, they got some plays off of it. All in all, it is just a player thing. It is not about being surprised. It is not about the game plan. It is not about being bad. It is not about anything. It is about coaches coach and players play. Us players, myself as a player, we need to play better."
Many have piled criticism on Tom Coughin and Perry Fewell, and some of it is certainly deserved. That being said, McClain is right to hold himself, and the rest of the players, accountable for their action -- or lack thereof.
He did, however, add his belief that the defense could rebound from their failure in Seattle."Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely, it is fixable. It is more communication. It is more attention to detail. It is more [if someone doesn't know], ask a question. It is more of that. Everything can be fixed. We are blessed. We are in the NFL. Each week we get another opportunity to prove ourselves all over again. In these past weeks, we haven't done well, so this is the time the iron strikes and it is hot. We get it rolling the way it is supposed to be going and like you said, we do face the same offense over again. People really have to look at themselves. Starting with me, I have to look at myself harder and see what I can do better."