With Khalil Mack gone, Raiders struggle to pressure Rams QB Jared Goff

With Khalil Mack gone, Raiders struggle to pressure Rams QB Jared Goff

OAKLAND -- The question isn’t going away. In fact, it only will grow louder and louder until someone steps up and silences the critics.

Who will pressure the quarterback for the Oakland Raiders?

That’s what happens when a franchise decides to trade an elite defensive player the week before the start of the regular season. There is a hole in the Raiders' scheme, and there isn’t one man on the roster who can fill the tremendous hole left by All-Pro Khalil Mack. 

In the team’s season-opening 33-13 drubbing at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams, Jared Goff sat back and picked the Raiders' secondary apart. Without a pass rush pressuring the third-year pro out of Cal, he opened up the field with his arm. With the defense chasing, the Rams turned to star running back Todd Gurley to further complicate matters.

“When you can run the ball like they ran in the second half, it’s very hard to rush the passer,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “Obviously, we didn’t get to Goff enough, and we didn’t get to Gurley enough. We’ll take a good look at the reasons why we didn’t.”

Bruce Irvin stepped up early, sacking Goff early in the second quarter and forcing a fumble that the Rams recovered. That was the last time the Raiders got to Goff the rest of the evening. 

“We knew we had to rush Goff and we couldn’t give him too much time,” Irvin said from his locker stall following the game. “I don’t think we did a good enough job of putting a lot of pressure on him.”

Irvin pointed to the Rams’ offensive line stunting and using play action to take advantage of the Raiders' speed rushers. The Raiders' defense only hit Goff twice the entire game, including Irvin's sack. 

“We’ve got work to do,” Raiders rookie defensive end Arden Key said. “We’re going to see on the film. We didn’t play good as a D-line. We missed some calls. Communication was bad. It’s the first game.”

Key had the only other QB hit recorded on the evening. For the Raiders to have any chance against the Denver Broncos next week, they’ll need to figure out how to break through and at least make Case Keenum move his feet. 

In case the Raiders needed any reminder of what they gave up in a trade that yielded two future first-round picks, Mack went off Sunday in his Bears debut. After signing a six-year, $141 million deal with Chicago, the 27-year-old picked up a sack and a fumble recovery, and intercepted a ball and returned it for a touchdown in the Bears' heartbreaking 24-23 loss to the Packers. 

Raiders sign cornerback Nevin Lawson to one-year contract extension


Raiders sign cornerback Nevin Lawson to one-year contract extension

The Raiders officially became property of Las Vegas on Wednesday, and the Silver and Black made their first official move as Sin City residents Thursday. 

The team announced they signed cornerback Nevin Lawson to a one-year contract extension. After joining the Raiders last offseason, Lawson made five starts and played in 11 games for the Raiders, seeing a bulk of his time in the latter stages of the season when Daryl Worley and Lamarcus Joyner were banged up. 

Lawson will enter next season serving a one-game suspension. The Utah State product was ejected late in the Raiders' Week 17 loss to the Denver Broncos and was given a punishment for using his helmet as a weapon.

[RELATED: Raiders can fill many holes with Senior Bowl prospects]

After opening the season 6-4, the Raiders, overcome by injuries and lack of talent, limped to a 1-5 finish to end the season at 7-9.

With the litany of issues the Silver and Black faced in 2019, 7-9 should be viewed as a good record for a team that relied on a dynamic rookie class.

There are a lot of reasons for the Raiders to believe the future is bright, and they hope Lawson is a part of it.

Las Vegas Raiders formally announce name change, dropping Oakland


Las Vegas Raiders formally announce name change, dropping Oakland

The Raiders started scrubbing Oakland from their name a few weeks back. Taking the city’s name off social media accounts was the most public step. Then, the team removed the word from the top of their Alameda training facility, where the organization will conduct business into July.

There were some legal maneuverings already in the works, and all that was a prelude to Wednesday's announcement.

The Silver and Black’s affiliation has formally changed: They are now the Las Vegas Raiders.

We all knew that was going to happen. The team applied for relocation to Las Vegas and the league approved it with a 31-1 vote back in March 2017. The Raiders remained in Oakland, with that name attached, for three seasons while their state-of-the-art stadium was being built just off the Las Vegas Strip.

On Wednesday afternoon, in front of the in-construction Allegiant Stadium, Nevada governor Steve Sisolak formally announced their new name. The announcement was made with owner Mark Davis, team president Marc Badain and several players in attendance, including quarterback Derek Carr, right tackle Trent Brown and tight end Darren Waller.

"The Raiders were born in Oakland and played 13 seasons in LA," Davis said. "Both cities will always be part of our DNA. But today, we begin a new chapter in our storied history. On Jan. 22, 2020, we are now the Las Vegas Raiders. And today, Las Vegas becomes our nation's capital."

[RELATED: Mayock confident Raiders' Vegas move will help in free agency]

The Raiders formally will move to Las Vegas after training camp in Napa, when their new training facility in nearby Henderson, Nev. will be complete.

The Silver and Black will execute free-agent signings, run the NFL draft and conduct their offseason program in Alameda. The team is scheduled to play in Las Vegas starting in the preseason.