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John Harbaugh on Giants LB Jameel McClain: They Got a Smart, Physical Player; Serve as Mentor

March 27th, 2014 at 3:20 PM
By Douglas Rush

The New York Giants helped their eighth-ranked defense of a season ago when they re-signed Jon Beason to a three-year deal, but they also gave Beason some help in the linebacker group when they added Jameel McClain from the Baltimore Ravens on a two-year deal.

Keith Allison / Foter / CC BY-SA

McClain dealt with some injuries last season, but when he was finally able to re-join the Ravens and got back to playing at a high level, something that caught the attention of Jerry Reese and liked enough of what he saw from McClain to make him a likely candidate to be a starting outside linebacker this coming season.

On Wednesday, McClain's former head coach and current Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talked to Jordan Raanan of the Newark-Star Ledger about how much of an impact McClain was on his team and felt that not only were the Giants getting a very smart and intense player, but a leader who will help the younger players on the Giants as well.

"He came back midseason from that injury, so there is probably some transition there. By the end of the year, I think he was the same player, and he'll be even better next year, back to his old self probably. You're getting a physical player, a very physical run-stopper. You're getting a very smart player, he understands coverage schemes and you're getting a tremendous, great, high-character guy. He'll be a great mentor for the young players. He's just a top-shelf person."

Harbaugh also said that while the team didn't want to lose McClain in free agency, in the end, McClain got a better deal from the Giants and the Ravens felt like they couldn't lose Daryl Smith and ultimately, chose re-signing Smith over McClain this offseason.

After agreeing to the deal with the Giants, McClain talked about how he will be coming to the Giants next season with a major chip on his shoulder and will look to almost re-create himself as a football player; one that will cause havoc on opposing offenses.

“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder the size of a golden nugget,” McClain said. “I’m all the way there. Every time that I get a little itch, God always slaps me in the back of the head and says, ‘Jameel, you’ve got a long way to go.’ I signed a little deal and then after that I got hurt, that was God slapping me on the back on the head. Once I came back from that injury then I get cut, so that’s God slapping me on the back of the head again, just saying, ‘Your job is to be the underdog.’ For the world to see that the underdog can make it possible, that’s my destination, that’s going to be my journey. I know it and I accept it.”

With McClain playing with that chip on his shoulder and his veteran leadership that he brings, Jerry Reese really may have struck gold in this signing, especially if he can stay healthy and bring the same kind of championship pedigree to the Giants that he did in Baltimore that helped them win Super Bowl XLVII back in February of 2013.

Photo credit: Keith Allison / Foter / CC BY-SA


Tags: Baltimore, Baltimore Ravens, Football, Jameel McClain, Jerry Reese, John Harbaugh, Jon Beason, New York, New York Giants, NFL

25 Responses to “John Harbaugh on Giants LB Jameel McClain: They Got a Smart, Physical Player; Serve as Mentor”

  1.  rlhjr says:

    Why is it that John Harbaugh is so easy to talk to and respect. And his brother is such a whinny A-hole that you would’nt pee on him if he was on fire?

  2.  NC Giant says:


    NC Giant says:
    March 27, 2014 at 3:23 PM
    don’t turn on NFL Network…they are airing the SF comeback game for SF Dynasty Week.

  3.  NC Giant says:

    any of the G101 family going to the HOF induction ceremony this year? I am headed there with my brother in law and was curious if anyone else was making the trip. It was much less expensive than what I thought it would be for admission/ticket.

  4.  Kettles78 says:

    I like the addition of Mcclain but I really don’t see the offensive weapons still to be a dangerous offense. Cruz very solid, Randle is up and down, Jerrnigan was it him breaking out or was it just the teams played down the stretch? I am sure hoping Cruz stays healthy and can handle the number 1 role and that Randle can step up and Jernigan finally found his nitch. I still think they still need a home run hitter and somebody who can scare a defense if they get the ball. Love the addition of Jennings but he doesn’t fit that at RB. Wilson was supposed to be that but who knows coming off a neck injury. Can’t wait for the draft to see which way they go

    •  BigBlueGiant says:

      you don’t see any? What? Seriously? We are stacked on offense! that’s why JR will not draft a player like Ebron or Evans if he’s there!

      my attempt at sarcasm.

      In all seriousness, you’re right. we don’t have an explosive offense. Nor have that Weapon that will we will need. Which is why i think JR will draft one with the 12th pick. At least i’m hoping.

  5.  kujo says:

    God, I can’t wait for FF55 to stop talking about moving Pugh to center, as though it’s some kind of realistic contingency plan.

    Listen up, old man (BTW, congrats on the grandbaby. Mazel mazel).

    You don’t take your best RT and turn him into a center. I mean, has that EVER happened, like ever? I suppose there’s at least SOME merit to the idea that he could move to the guard position, but where the heck do you get this “move Pugh to center and you need a tackle” idea?

    •  BigBlueGiant says:

      he’s just prepping for when he could say, “See, I told you we were going to draft Martin at 12.”

      •  fanfor55years says:

        The only first pick I ever got right was Kenny Phillips so if Martin IS the pick it will be dumb luck. But I think he’d be a great choice.

        •  BigBlueGiant says:

          only bustin’ your chops.

          Wouldn’t mind Martin, but I think JR goes for the “sexy” pick this year and upgrades Eli’s Arsenal.

      •  BBWC says:

        Pugh exclusively played left tackle in his three years at Syracuse. If they draft a right tackle such as Martin and Beatty has a set back…. you never know, they might move Pugh over to left tackle and start Martin at right. TC said, he has not ruled out moving Pugh to left tackle.

        •  BBWC says:

          If Beatty and Walton get back to what they once were and we draft Martin, we could potentially have a pretty decent OL. William Beatty, Geoff Schwartz, J.D. Walton, Zack Martin, Justin Pugh with Mosley and Jerry as backups.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I only think it happens if we draft a tackle, we lose the bet in our new center, and we HAVE to do it. But the word in Pugh was that he has good feet and is highly intelligent (which may be given the lie by his clubbing activities) and that sounds like someone who could be converted to center.

      I don’t think it will happen but as an insurance plan it’s perfectly logical in the absence of a better solution.

  6.  bluetick says:

    Norm made a long post last year about how center was the most important position on our offensive line, and that person was already on our roster.

  7.  bluetick says:

    Norm made a long post last year about how center was the most important position on our offensive line, and that, that person was already on our roster. I always thought that he was refering to Pugh. Norm is very well respected by me, so I think moving Pugh to center is not such a crazy idea.

  8.  rlhjr says:

    How do you move your best ROT to center? Draft Zack Martin and go to Pugh and explain “son we’re putting your alligator arm a$$ at center where you will be the best one we’ve had since Bart Oates”.

    Everyone is talking about how deep the draft is and how a quality offensive lineman can be found in the second round. The deal is simple, the top offensive line players will not make it to the Giants selection at 12. Neither will the elite defensive players. So once again the Giants will walk away from the draft without having made a bold move. With tail between their legs they will settle for BPA.

    To be honest despite all the signings solid players are still a requirement. All the holes can not be filled this year. So get the best players you can. And plan for three more top players next year. That’s not such a bad idea.

  9.  skinnydoogan says:

    For Gods sake don’t provoke FF into telling us Brewer and Mosley are “terrific” players.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      You gotta be kidding me. When have I ever said that? Mosley was very good in college. Only thing I’ve ever said about them is I hadn’t given up on them the way most have.

  10.  GOAT56 says:

    BBG – Maybe it’s unfair but I can’t get the LSU and Missiouri games out of my mind when looking at Evans and Manziel. I think Evans will have an issue with press coverage and is not quick in and out of his breaks. He can definitely make some plays when the ball is in the air but that’s not enough to draft at 12 IMO. His 40 was faster than I expected but his lack of quickness did show. If we were in the 20s it would be different, at 12 I think you draft a definite #1 and Evans isn’t that to me.

    BBG we seem to disagree on a lot of players but one player you mention we agree 100% on is Martin from UNC. I have been talking about him for a while. I think in general he’s underrated as a prospect then add to that I think there are very few true 4-3 DEs in this draft and I really think he could be our pick. I was hoping to maybe get him in the 3rd round but I do think his talent is that of a pick at 43. He has a lot of Tuck to his game because he can be a complete DE.

    F55 – to me drafting Martin at 12 is like drafting Pugh at 12 last year. I think it’s just too high especially when we signed guys who could start. But maybe I’m underestimating the upside of Martin.

    I like the Jenkins TE kid from Washington. I agree he had inconsistent play this year but I got the feel as such a highly rated player that there was some Clowney to his game this year as well. I think he’s maybe the most talent TE in the draft and to get him at 43 or later would be great. To me Jenkins to Ebron is similar to Clowney and Mack. Ebron and Mack proved it this year on the field but I’m still not sure they are better prospects than their counterparts.

    An important factor with McClain might be that he could be our backup MLB. Herzlich who I thought would be decent was a complete flop and should be nothing more than a special teams guy IMO.

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