Aug 15, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) is congratulated by outside linebacker Sio Moore (55) after recording a sack against the Detroit Lions in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Lions 27-26. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack Must Help Ease Secondary Burden

Through two preseason games it’s clear the Oakland Raiders have problems in the secondary.  That means they need even more from Khalil Mack.

Mack and Justin Tuck must keep pass rush humming.

Pass defense was a problem last season for the Raiders and so far in 2014 things aren’t looking much better after Matt Cassel and Matthew Stafford basically had their ways with the secondary in barely a half worth of starter-on-starter football.  This discouraging development only magnifies how important it will be for the Raiders to get consistent production out of their pass rush.  Last season the team finished 18th overall in quarterback sacks.  That isn’t terrible but with a bad secondary it isn’t good enough.  That is why the team spent a huge part of their off-season improving it.  Justin Tuck came in via free agency and a 1st round pick was spent on linebacker Khalil Mack.  The rookie offered a sign of things to come with his first sack against Detroit.  Both will be needed in the months to come.

Coaches should expect more from Tarell Brown

The great thing about the NFL is everything starts up front.  If the Raiders can get a good pass rush going every week, they should be able to mask their secondary, similar to what the Lions have done the past few seasons with Ndamukong Suh and Co.  However, that doesn’t shrink the responsibility from the Oakland coaches to find a way to make things better on the back end.  Even if that means doing something as simple as demanding more from veteran players like Tarell Brown.  He was supposed to help right away given the money the team paid him in free agency.  Instead he has looked like a bad investment.  Never mind the fact D.J. Hayden can’t stay healthy and Carlos Rogers is getting older.

The Raiders defense is the focal point of the 2014 season, and their focal point will have to be the pass rush.  Can Khalil Mack help elevate the unit?  He better.

Tags: Justin Tuck Khalil Mack Oakland Raiders Tarell Brown

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