Raiders find defensive hope amid Khalil Mack’s holdout

Updated June 12, 2018 - 9:54 pm

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Life without Khalil Mack, the Raiders hope, will be brief.

Their star defensive end figures to rejoin the team sometime this summer. By that juncture, it’s unclear if he’ll have signed a contract extension worth more than $20 million annually or remain under his one-year, $13.846 million team option. Either way, the team can expect Mack on the field this season.

And so, more important than his absence this spring is what the Raiders are seeing in his wake.

Hope.

Mack officially began a holdout Tuesday, skipping the start of a mandatory three-day minicamp. The 27-year-old is a vital cog to the club’s defense. Naturally, his absence has been felt. But for coaches, the focus has been on developing complementary pieces so that whenever he reports, he’ll have more pass-rush help than he’s received lately.

He and the defense are in dire need.

Mack has managed dominance amid double- and triple-team assignments in protection. Despite that, Oakland has totaled 56 combined sacks the past two seasons, second-fewest in the NFL. He and defensive end Bruce Irvin recorded 21½ and 15 during this span, respectively.

“One of the big reasons I came here was to coach that man (Mack),” coach Jon Gruden said Tuesday. “But I don’t want to speculate (on the holdout). There’s a lot of guys in the league, several players that are in a similar situation. We’re just trying to resolve it as soon as possible, and in the meantime coach the players that are here.”

Mack has skipped the entire spring workout program, which began in April and was voluntary until this week. He’s missed a firsthand look at the team’s draft class.

Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie invested heavily in the line of scrimmage. Those selections included defensive tackle P.J. Hall (second round), defensive end Arden Key (third) and defensive tackle Mo Hurst Jr. (fifth). Although the team cannot wear pads until training camp, they have impressed.

Hurst and Hall offer needed athleticism as interior rushers for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s aggressive one-gap scheme.

“When you’ve been in it long enough, you kind of know, even in shorts, what it’s supposed to look like,” Guenther said. “I think both of those young guys are really coming along. Obviously, Maurice is probably a little bit ahead of P.J. because P.J. comes from a small program (Sam Houston State). … Those guys have done a really good job of picking it up. Arden is the same way. So, we have three guys out of this draft that I think are going to really help us.”

As a Pro Bowler, left guard Kelechi Osemele’s opinion carries obvious weight.

He seemed especially high Tuesday on Hurst, whom the Raiders selected late because of concerns over a heart condition. Osemele said Hurst has “really impressed” him.

“Definitely got a steal with him,” Osemele said. “He’s looking real good. … If he just keeps going, the sky is the limit for that guy. … I’m sure (Mack is) doing whatever he needs to do to be ready when he comes back. Right now, it’s just kind of one of those things where it’s next man up at this point until he gets back.”

The Raiders can fine Mack up to $76,580 for missing minicamp.

Gruden declined comment when asked if they would. It’s expected they won’t.

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Raiders Videos
Vegas Nation: Raiders fire GM Reggie McKenzie
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken describes what changes may come to the Raiders organization following general manager Reggie McKenzie's release on Monday.
Gruden on GM Reggie McKenzie's firing
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden reacts to Raiders general manger Reggie McKenzie's dismissal on Monday.
Raiders Win Intense Game Against Steelers - Vegas Nation
The Raiders win against the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-21. Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Raiders victory.
Vegas Nation: Raiders sign C.J. Anderson
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken lists the multiple players heading to the injured reserve list, the Raiders signing three new players to the active roster, and the new drills the running backs are running in practice.
Raiders vs Steelers Preview - Vegas Nation Mailbag
The Oakland Raiders will face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Vegas Nation Mailbag host Elaine Emerson and sports columnist Ed Graney answer all of Raider Nation's burning questions about the upcoming game.
Vegas Nation: Fumbles plague Raiders in loss to Chiefs
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken goes over Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and highlights the uncertainty of many players returning from their injuries.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To The Kansas City Chiefs
Raiders fall to the Kansas City Chiefs 40-33. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto, Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Raiders loss to the chiefs.
Raiders players reflect on their loss to the Chiefs
Oakland Raiders' players Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook and Doug Martin reflect on what went wrong and talk about their performances in the team's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Gruden, Carr on turnovers that cost the Raiders
Head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr spoke about the team's loss to the Chiefs following the game. The Oakland Raiders fell to 2-10 on the season when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs at home, 40-33.
Vegas Nation: Leon Hall, others could miss game vs. Chiefs
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken goes over the team's final injury report before their game on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Raiders Honor Canyon Springs’ Gus McNair as High School Coach of the Year
The Raiders honor Canyon Springs Head Coach Gus McNair as the 2018 Coach of The Year. The Raiders present a check for $1000 to the school and surprise players with the gift of new cleats. (Kenton King/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation: Kareem Hunt physical altercation video surfaces
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken describes the potential ramifications of the Kareem Hunt video that surfaced on Friday, as well as the Raiders' final injury report before Sunday's game against the Chiefs.
Vegas Nation: Hill poses threat to Townsend, Raiders special teams
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken presents the challenges rookie punter Johnny Townsend could face this Sunday, as he hopes for a bounce back game against one of the most dangerous returners in football: Tyreek Hill.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: Raiders fall to Ravens 34-17
The Raiders fell to 2-9 on the season after losing to the Ravens in Baltimore. Ed Graney and Elaine Emerson discuss the Raiders needs going forward.
Vegas Nation: DeAndre Washington, Raiders promote causes with cleats
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken goes into depth about the NFL's 'My Cause My Cleats" campaign, and the cause running back DeAndre Washington chose for the promotion.
Vegas Nation: Gruden encouraged by rookie tackles
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken examines Sunday's performances of the team's rookie tackles Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To Baltimore Ravens
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto go over the Raiders 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Raiders Players Thanksgiving Dinner Donations
Donald Penn brought the tradition of "spreading the love" for Thanksgiving from Tampa Bay as said by Raiders offensive tackle Kolton Miller. Raiders players were donating turkey dinners to Oakland residents Tuesday night.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: How Will Raiders Perform Against Ravens
Raiders will face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and Review-Journal reporter Gilbert Manzano and Elaine Emerson go over what to expect from the game.
Vegas Nation: LaFell moved to IR, Hatcher returns
The Raiders move wide receiver Brandon LaFell to the injured reserve and re-sign preseason standout Keon Hatcher, as Michael Gehlken reports the corresponding moves from Alameda, Calif.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Beat Cardinals 23-21, Earn Second Win of Season
Raiders Kicker Daniel Carlson hit the game winning field goal as time expires to hand the Raiders their first road win of the Season.
Raiders players talk about the team's win over Cardinals
After the team defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 23-21, the Oakland Raiders players spoke about the victory in the locker room.
Gruden, Carr discuss the Raiders 23-21 win
Head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr speak to media after the Oakland Raiders defeat the Arizona Cardinals, 23-21.
Vegas Nation: Nelson, Bryant out vs. Arizona
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports that the team will be without wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant ahead of their game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Vegas Nation: Raiders hold indoor walkthrough due to fires
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports from smoky Alameda, Calif. as the Raiders move their practice indoors due to the California wildfires.
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium (Raiders)
Vegas Nation: Ateman prepares for NFL debut vs. Cards
Oakland Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken explains how Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant's injuries could result in seventh round pick Marcell Ateman making his NFL debut this Sunday.
Vegas Nation: Nelson, Bryant injured in loss to Chargers
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken examines the injuries to wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant.
Raiders Adopt Student Resource Room At Robert Taylor Elementary School In Henderson
Former Raiders player Leo Gray and Robert Taylor Elementary School principal Kim Basham talk about the new resource room at the school on Sept. 25, 2018 in Henderson, Nevada. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
More information on design of Raiders' practice facility in Henderson
Officials plan to finish the Raiders' Henderson headquarters by spring 2020. The planned facility would be home to offices, training facilities and 4 1/2 football fields.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like