Khalil Mack missing as Raiders mandatory minicamp begins


Khalil Mack missing as Raiders mandatory minicamp begins

ALAMEDA -- Khalil Mack isn’t in the Bay Area, wasn’t present Tuesday to begin the Raiders’ mandatory minicamp, and isn’t expected for any part of the three-day session.

That decision’s part of Mack’s decision to skip the team’s offseason program while waiting for a big-money contract extension. He missed the strength and conditioning workouts and OTAs. Those sessions were voluntary.

This minicamp is not. The offseason program’s capper is mandatory, which officially makes Mack a holdout.

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden isn't thrilled about it, but he isn't losing sleep over Mack missing three practices in June. He would, however, love to see him working in Paul Guenther's defense. 

"One of the big reasons I came here was to coach that man," Gruden said Tuesday afternoon. "I don’t want to speculate. There are several guys around the league in similar situations. We’re trying to resolve it as soon as possible and, in the meantime, coach the players that are here."

The Raiders can fine him for missing the entire minicamp, though fines are levied at team discretion and can be erased down the line if they are given.

While Gruden wouldn't discuss whether the Raiders would fine Mack, such financial penalties won’t be a significant issue for either side. Mack and the Raiders want to work out a contract extension this offseason. Total compensation is obviously the sticking point. Mack could easily set the market for defensive players. NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche said earlier this offseason he was looking for $65 million guaranteed – Von Miller got $70 million guaranteed from Denver two years ago – on what could be a nine-figure contract.

The Raiders budgeted for Mack’s big payday, but are trying to find a balance and way to pay him, quarterback Derek Carr and several high-priced offensive lineman while maintaining a level of future financial flexibility under the salary cap.

Mack is currently under contract, set to make $13.84 million under a fifth-year team option available for first-round draft picks. It if fully guaranteed.

Mack doesn’t want to risk injury in an offseason practice. If he suffers a serious injury, the mega deal could vanish before his eyes.

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is in a similar position, choosing to skip offseason work looking for a new deal. The first player in this pair to sign could set a market the other could exceed, creating a slow play that might impact the timing of both deals.

The Raiders hope Mack signs before training camp starts in late July. Both Carr and right guard Gabe Jackson signed in the dead period between the offseason program and training camp.

It’s uncertain if Mack’s deal will get done in time. While he hasn’t been part of the Raiders offseason program under new head coach Jon Gruden and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, there’s no doubt he remains in excellent shape. Guenther said he’ll have a plan to catch Mack up once he arrives, especially after missing so much scheme installation. Mack’s absence isn’t a serious concern at this stage, but that could change if the stalemate carries well into training camp.

His presence is missed by teammates, but they know prime Khalil Mack will be ready when he returns. 

"He’s taking care of his situation, and we respect it," safety Karl Joseph said. "The other guys have done a good job learning the system, but you can’t replace a guy like Khalil. When he’s ready to come back, we’ll be ready for him." 

Marshawn Lynch's mom definitely wants Khalil Mack back on Raiders

Marshawn Lynch's mom definitely wants Khalil Mack back on Raiders

While Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch is a man of few words, his mom, Delisa, never has been known to bite her Twitter fingers.

One day after Marshawn spoke to the media about what's wrong with the Raiders, his mom did the same thing -- except her response was more succinct.

Without edge rusher Khalil Mack, who was traded to the Chicago Bears before the season opener, the Raiders have struggled to rush opposing quarterbacks. On the flip side, Mack has been in a pain in the rear end for the offensive lines of the Packers, Seahawks and Cardinals, with 13 total tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and a pick-six in three games.

The Raiders as a team, over the first three games, have five sacks and zero forced fumbles.

We'll guess that just about every Raiders player privately agrees with Mama Lynch. We know every Raiders fan definitely agrees with her.


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Raiders snap count: Bruce Irvin's opportunities decrease in heavy rotation

Raiders snap count: Bruce Irvin's opportunities decrease in heavy rotation

MIAMI -- The Raiders need more from Bruce Irvin.

Coach Jon Gruden made that clear last week. The effort is there, Gruden said, but the production isn’t at a level required to generate pressure on the quarterback.

He was right. Irvin had two pressures through two games, a strip sack in the opener and a quarterback hit in Week 2.

In Week 3, he didn’t have a ton of opportunities on a hot, humid day where the Raiders played just 44 defensive snaps. He played 26 downs in Sunday’s 28-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins, just 59 percent of the overall total.

A heavy rotation continued up front, but those spelling Irvin didn’t offer much. Shilique Calhoun wasn’t in the right spot while subbing for Irvin in the third quarter, and Jakeem Grant blew right by him for an 18-yard touchdown.

Irvin played a lot more for the previous Raiders coaching staff, who used him and edge rusher Khalil Mack on virtually every down.

Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther prefers keeping guys fresh, but Irvin and Frostee Rucker are the Raiders' best edge run defenders. Irvin definitely is their best edge pass rusher, and Raiders need him to find his way back to the quarterback.

The coaching staff seems committed to starting captain Reggie Nelson and playing him regularly, though it will be interesting to see if Erik Harris can chip away at Nelson’s snaps as the season progresses.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie rotated in on defense as he did in Week 1, taking series from Gareon Conley and Rashaan Melvin. Raiders cornerbacks have been the steadiest part of an ailing defense that can’t hold strong for four quarters.

The receiver corps also got shaken up some in Miami. Seth Roberts played significant snaps in the first two games, but he was a healthy scratch Sunday. Martavis Bryant pushed Roberts down on the priority list, and now it seems veteran Brandon LaFell has caught up quick enough to start earning more playing time.

The total number of snaps also is of note. The Raiders dominated time of possession, holding the ball more than 17 minutes longer than the opposition, and totaled just 20 points. The Dolphins, by contrast, used some trickery to create big plays and efficient scores in just 44 plays.

The Raiders allowed five plays of 20-plus yards, including three touchdowns from at least 34 yards out. That will get you beat. So will struggles in the red zone, where the Raiders were 2-for-5 with an interception and a turnover on downs.


Total offensive snaps: 76
Quarterback -- Derek Carr 76
Running back -- Marshawn Lynch 42, Jalen Richard 20, Keith Smith 19, Doug Martin 13
Wide receiver -- Amari Cooper 60, Jordy Nelson 55, Maratvis Bryant 35, Brandon LaFell 33, Dwayne Harris 2
Tight end -- Jared Cook 62, Lee Smith 19, TE Derek Carrie 18
Offensive line -- Gabe Jackson 76, Kolton Miller 76, Rodney Hudson 76, Kelechi Osemele 76, T.J. Clemmings 58, Donald Penn 18, Jon Feliciano 2


Total defensive snaps: 44
Defensive line -- Clinton McDonald 34, Maurice Hurst 28, Bruce Irvin 26, Johnathan Hankins 23, Frostee Rucker 22, Arden Key 19, Fadol Brown 14, Shilique Calhoun 9
Linebacker -- Tahir Whitehead 44, Marquel Lee 28, Derrick Johnson14, Emmanuel Lamur 11, Nicholas Morrow 2
Defensive back -- Reggie Nelson 39, Rashaan Melvin 33, Leon Hall 33, Marcus Gilchrist 33, Gareon Conley 31, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 24, Erik Harris 17, Karl Joseph 1

Special teams

Total special teams plays: 23
Lee 23, Rodgers-Cromartie 22, Harris 22, Kyle Wilber 22, Carrier 19, K. Smith 18, Morrow 18, Harris 16, Calhoun 14, Mike Nugent 9, Melvin 9, L. Smith 9, Gilchrist 8, Richard 8, Johnny Townsend 7, Trent Sieg 7, Lamur 6, Whitehead 5, Nelson 5, McDonald 5, Irvin 4, Rucker 4, Key 4, Miller 4, Feliciano 4, Jackson 4, Osemele 4, Clemmings 4, Joseph 3, Conley 2, Brown 1, Nelson 1, LaFell 1, Penn 1


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