Khalil Mack is Becoming a Dominating Defender


The Oakland Raiders lost to the Arizona Cardinals 30-23 on Sunday, but Khalil Mack was an absolute beast for his team. Mack led the starting defense with a menacing presence as the Raiders went into halftime with a 15-3 advantage. Even though Derek Carr and the offense were inconsistent, the defense showed us that the Raiders are a team on the rise.

As we saw with the Seattle Seahawks over the last few years, a stellar defense can transform a team into a powerhouse. Their “legion of boom” gave Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch a great abundance of opportunities to get ahead in games. Without good defense, the offense obviously has to play from behind. Players such as Derek Carr and Amari Cooper will develop positively as long as the Raiders’ defense consistently stops opposing offenses.

Fans of the Raiders should be optimistic about a turnaround this season because Jack Del Rio has a great defensive mind. A few weeks ago, he had the interesting idea of using Khalil Mack as a linebacker and a pass rusher on the line of scrimmage. Mack has had limited preseason action, so it wasn’t clear how effective that idea would be. The Raiders finally increased Mack’s playing time against the Cardinals, and he showed us how great of a defender he can be for the Silver and Black.

Some of Mack’s highlights were two sacks and a dominating forced fumble on a third-and-one play. He sheds blocks and reads the offense like an all-pro veteran. If Mack keeps up his high intensity approach, the Raiders’ defense will definitely turn into a reckless unit.

The Bay Area seriously has two incredible linebackers right now with Mack and NaVorro Bowman. The two of them could be strong contenders for the Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Things could not be looking better for the Oakland Raiders. The team has such great talent in Carr and Cooper on offense. The perfect storm has arrived that could turn the Raiders into a winning team again. Khalil Mack will simply take the Raiders to the next level as he develops into a star.

The San Jose Mercury news quoted Jack Del Rio on Mack’s performance:

"“Yeah, he was terrific,” said coach Jack Del Rio. “I thought he played very well. We got some good pressure on the quarterback and he was a large part of that. I know he had a couple of sacks and a couple of other plays, but he was very stout in the run game as well.”"

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It’s just great that Del Rio joined the Oakland Raiders as the new head coach. He’s the key piece that will help Khalil Mack and others grow into smart and productive players. If everything goes according to plans, the Raiders could soon become the new face of clean and intense defensive football.

The Raiders seem like they will be very strong against both running and passing offenses. Plus, Mack is proving that he will dominate running backs in the trenches just as much as he will destroy quarterbacks.

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