The Raiders made it obvious how much they think of middle linebacker Rolando McClain by selecting him with the eighth pick of the NFL draft last month and trading longtime starting middle linebacker Kirk Morrison two days later.
Watching McClain through four practices the past two days validated their belief that the former University of Alabama standout is every bit as good as advertised.
"The thing I mentioned (Friday), and it showed up again (Saturday), the ability to just jump right in and take control is obvious," coach Tom Cable said.
McClain, 6-foot-3 and 254 pounds, was all but handed the starting job before he even donned a Raiders jersey for the first time.
He called it "an honor" but added that he is accustomed to succeeding right away. He started as a sophomore in high school and started his freshman season at Alabama.
"I just got to take it for what it is," McClain said. "The job is not going to be given to me. I know I have to work for it. I'm prepared for that. All I can do is step in and try do what I did at the University of Alabama, and that's be a leader, bring my leadership, as well as my physical ability."
Pressure is something McClain is accustomed to, having played for an Alabama team that won the national championship last season. So, being a first-round draft pick and projected as a starter doesn't weigh on him one bit.
"Obviously they expect a lot, they put me in with the starters right
Cable said McClain is big enough to be mistaken for a guard. Outside linebacker Thomas Howard said he was amazed by McClain's size and leadership skills.
"Man, he's bigger than I thought he was," Howard said. "He works hard, he's a smart player and he jumped right in and he was able to control the defense."
The change marks Campbell's first foray on the right side of the offensive line, as well as playing guard.
"Yes I do feel comfortable," Campbell said. "It's not that bad at all."
Campbell said he enjoys the added benefit of having help on either side of him as opposed isolated at the end of the line. Even so, he realizes that he needs to adjust his style of play, at least in the short term.
"I actually am going to start running a lot more than I did at the tackle position anyway," Campbell said. "I like to run. I like to use my speed and everything else just to play football. "
Cable said the Raiders are just taking the cautious approach with Schilens because "we're going to need that guy."