Khalil Mack: It's not about just one person fixing Raiders defense

Khalil Mack: It's not about just one person fixing Raiders defense

ALAMEDA – Khalil Mack regularly gives a speech before Raiders games. Teammates huddle around him as he revs up his guys, detailing the importance of quality play and victory over the opposition.

The Raiders must do so, Mack often says, by any means.

You can finish his phrase. By any means necessary.

The effort and desire is always there on game day. Required execution, however, is not.

The Raiders defense has been a disappointment through six weeks, the league’s worst in yards allowed and pass defense and yards per play. They’re 30th in points allowed, a number that could’ve been worse without solid third-down defense and turnovers.

Defensive wrongdoing was covered by four quality wins. It’s back in the crosshairs after Sunday’s disastrous undressing by rival Kansas City. Figuring out why defense underwhelms has been a talking point in recent days.

Discussing it will only do so much. He wants to see improvement on tape.

“You can talk about it all day. Until we do it, it’s irrelevant,” Mack said Tuesday. “I focus on action. I want to see guys go out and attack practice tomorrow like it’s their last. Do the same thing Thursday, get on a plane Friday and put good things on film on Sunday.”

That hasn’t happened often enough, and continuing these performances could prevent the Raiders from reaching lofty goals.

“We haven’t played well enough, but the good thing is that you get a chance to redeem yourself and get the bad taste out of your mouth.”

The next opportunity comes Sunday against the host Jacksonville Jaguars, who are 29th in total offense and haven’t run a lick.

They might be aided by the Kansas City game tape. The Chiefs dismantled the Raiders with rushing off the edge and through younger interior linemen. Misdirection, bootlegs and counters have been among the biggest defensive issues, in addition to forcing safeties into difficult and at times errant decisions that create favorable matchups.

“You can tell teams are using things that challenge your discipline,” Mack said. “Those are the things that are beating us. ...It's our job to respond.”

Head coach Jack Del Rio has cited eye violations and communication issues, but tackling and covering well are also concerns. He insists mistakes are correctable, especially in regard to proper communication (and reads).

“That’s an area that I can just tell you, that’s one of the areas when that cleans up, it’s going to alleviate a lot of issues that we’re having,” Del Rio said. “That’s why I remain very confident in this football team and our ability to grow as the year goes on. There are young players, and that’s not an alibi, that’s just reality. I think as they gain confidence, they’ll continue to grow and our communication will be better and better.”

While the Raiders try to operate as a cohesive unit, a band aid would be welcome. Many fans look to Mack as a savior off the edge, an elite player capable of blowing up any play at any time. That potential certainly exists, and people expect it often from the All-Pro.

Fans want more, more, more, but Mack laughs off the idea that outside expectations infiltrate, even during troubling times like these. There is no added pressure, no drive to press. Mack knows better than to do anything like that. He doesn’t care about numbers, anyway. He cares about getting wins – the Raiders are 4-2, by the way – by any means.

“It’s only expected if somebody says something,” Mack said. “What they don’t see is that it’s a team game. It’s not about just one person. That’s the big picture, and it’s what I’m focused on. Playing good team football.”

Mack wants to see results, not discuss what they could or should be.

“It’s going to take more than talking about it,” Mack said. “I want to see what cats do on film, what they do on Sunday. That’s all it’s really about with me.”

Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders


Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders

Ndamukong Suh won’t meet with the Raiders, after all. The star defensive tackle cut Alameda out of his free-agent tour, according to NFL Network, choosing instead to head home after stops in New Orleans, Tennessee and the L.A. Rams.

NFLN reports that Suh had dinner with Rams coach Sean McVay on Tuesday night, and was due in Oakland the following day. The Rams made a solid impression

Suh is reportedly mulling options from all three aforementioned playoff teams, all of which have more working salary-cap space and other stalwarts along the defensive line.

That’s surely a disappointment for the Raiders, who have had interest in Suh dating back to his last free-agent experience in 2015. The Silver and Black couldn’t afford him then. It seems unlikely they can afford him now, with precious little salary-cap space remaining after being active in free agency’s second wave.

The Raiders also hope to lock Khalil Mack up long-term with a massive extension this offseason.

It’s uncertain at this stage whether player or team cancelled the meeting, or exactly why it was called off. The Raiders could still sign a veteran defensive tackle, and/or acquire one early in the NFL Draft.

Raiders restructure Marshawn Lynch's contract


Raiders restructure Marshawn Lynch's contract

Marshawn Lynch restructured his contract this week, virtually locking him in for the 2018 Raiders season.

The veteran exchanged some base salary for guaranteed funds and an increased incentive package, according to contract details obtained Wednesday by the Las Vegas Review Journal.

His base salary drops from $4 million to $2.5 million, but becomes guaranteed. None of the funds Lynch had coming in his previous deal were guaranteed. He has a $1 million roster bonus coming on Saturday, just six days after receiving a $1 million roster bonus as required in his old contract.

That essentially guarantees him $4.5 million, as sure a sign as any he’ll be the Raiders feature back. Lynch will lead his position group, with support from veteran addition Doug Martin. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are also on the roster, though it’s uncertain if both guys will remain there this fall.

Lynch can also earn $3.75 million in incentives, a significant increase from the $2 million available in the previous deal.

The Raiders saved $500,000 in salary cap space with the new deal.