Oakland Raiders: The good, bad, and ugly in preseason win over the Lions

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images /
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Oakland Raiders
OAKLAND, CA – NOVEMBER 27: Khalil Mack /

Ugly: Still No Khalil Mack

Casting a bit of a pall over the first win of the Gruden 2.0 era – preseason though it may be – was the continued and prolonged absence of All-Universe pass rusher Khalil Mack.

Mack’s contract stalemate continues to drag on amid reports that the two sides haven’t even spoken since February. Obviously, we can’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but the report of complete radio silence is not only deafening, but it’s ominous.

Oh, Mack will show up at some point. Given that he’s being fined more than $800 thousand per game he’s not there, that’s going to add up and eat away at his almost $14 million dollar salary this year. He’s likely not going to want to give too much of that up.

But, with a new defensive philosophy and system in place, Mack is going to have a lot of catching up to do once he does arrive. Not that there’s much doubt he’ll pick it up and be just fine when he does.

Mack is a generational talent and it boggles the mind that GM Reggie McKenzie is opting to play this song and dance with him. Yeah, the Raiders will technically have him locked up for two more years after this one, if they apply the franchise tag. (Spoiler alert, they will) Especially given that even by using the tag on him, they’ll be locking him down for less than he’s likely looking to get paid.

It defies logic that McKenzie is playing hardball with a foundation piece and walking Hall of Famer like Mack. This is a player who should be in Silver and Black until he’s ready to walk away from the game. And yet, McKenzie is all but guaranteeing that he’s out the door as soon as he can hit unrestricted free agency.

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Against Detroit, the Raiders defense managed to drop four sacks on Lions quarterbacks, showing some teeth they haven’t had for a good, long while.

It’s an encouraging sign for a defense that’s struggled as mightily to get pressure on the quarterback as the Raiders have in recent years. And one has to wonder what this defense will be like once Mack is lining up with them.