Oakland Raiders: 5 Things To Look For In Preseason Game #3

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Aug 22, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke (6) fumbles the ball as Oakland Raiders linebacker Ben Heeney (51) hits him in the third quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 20-12. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Will The Pass Rush Get Better?

Compared to last season’s pass rush, this season’s unit so far, is pretty beastly. They are around the quarterback, pressuring, hurrying, and hitting them quite a bit. They’ve racked up a few sacks and on the whole, seem to be developing into a fierce unit. Which is good, because the Oakland defense is going to need them to perform at a very high level.

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Second round pick Mario Edwards Jr. bounced back from a dismal debut performance against the Rams to post a couple of pressures as well as contribute to a strip sack that led to a turnover. Ben Heeney has been something of a revelation at linebacker, leading the team in tackles through the first two games and joining forces with Edwards on that strip sack in Minnesota.

Though Heeney is not a threat to take snaps away from free agent addition and tackling machine Curtis Lofton, he does add some very important depth and production from a solid rotational guy.

Khalil Mack hasn’t put up the numbers this exhibition season, but that does not mean his presence has not been felt all over the field. He’s constantly in the backfield, putting pressure on the quarterback, and freeing up others to make plays – and they’ve responded with what seems like a vastly improved pass rush.

The Cardinals have a pretty solid offensive line, so it will be a good test for Oakland’s pass rushers to see if they can get through that wall of humanity and get to Palmer or whoever is under center for Arizona.

Next: Explosions Ahead?