Bruce Irvin thinks Raiders are ready to take the next step
Among the reasons why the Raiders have become a popular offseason choice to make a move up the standings and into the playoff hunt is the arrival of linebacker Bruce Irvin as a free agent.
Irvin is one of several players the Raiders brought to Oakland to join Khalil Mack in hopes building a defensive unit capable of taking Oakland to the right side of .500 for the first time since 2002. Irvin believes that he and Mack will prove to be a strong duo -- “I really expect us to do a lot of great things this year” -- and that the Raiders as a whole will prove worthy of the preseason optimism.
“You could definitely tell it’s a tight group,” Irvin said, via ESPN.com. “We’re on the way up. You have a lot of guys who are willing to listen to the older guys, so that’s the greatest thing about coming to a situation like this ... I have to say, it’s a bunch of guys who are hungry. They are ready to take the next step. We know what we have to do. We’ve seen the blueprint to win a Super Bowl -- it’s running the ball and playing great defense. I think we are ready to take that next step and really capture this AFC West.”
Irvin, cornerback Sean Smith and safety Reggie Nelson all come to the Raiders from teams that made the playoffs last year, giving the defense some players with the knowledge of what it takes to advance to the next level. Executing those things is a different story, although the talent on both sides of the ball makes it easy to see why people are bullish about the Raiders having a chance to do it.