FRISCO, Texas – For the last two years, it's been rather difficult for Terrell McClain to stand out.
Not only has he been injured and missed playing-time opportunities, but he hasn't even been the only "McClain" on the defensive side of the ball.
But after one game, both of those aspects have changed for the Cowboys' defensive tackle, who arguably had the most productive game of any player last week against the Giants.
And he did so with limited reps, playing only 30 snaps on defense, although he still managed to record five tackles and one for loss.
"He had a terrific game, he really did. He's a powerful man," said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who is seeing the most consistent production out of McClain after the veteran was limited by injuries the last two years. "This is the longest period of time he's been able to practice. I think the sky's the limit for him."
While power is a big attribute for any defensive tackle, Marinelli said the quickness McClain brings to the table sets him apart.
"He's got great feet. Great feet for that position," Marinelli said. "He made plays all the way down the field. He really fits what we're doing."
McClain, who weighs a little north of 300 pounds, said having the combination of both power and agility will allow him to be as productive as he was Sunday.
"In this system it works to your advantage because we do so much lateral movement," McClain said. "If you have quick feet and power coming behind it, it makes it so much better."
Now the Cowboys must figure out how to get even more snaps out of McClain, without losing his effectiveness and wearing him out throughout the game.
"I'd like to open it up a little bit more for him," Marinelli said. "He's in great shape."
Even head coach Jason Garrett said there's a balance that all coaches try to find with the amount of snaps given to each player.
"Oftentimes with all your players, particularly on the defensive line, they become less effective the more they play," Garrett said. "Now you have to find what that sweet spot is. You have to make sure you give them plenty of opportunities throughout the game. You're always talking about that as coaches. What's enough plays, but not too many plays where all of a sudden he's not as effective as he had been."