Khalil Mack sits home right now. If the Raiders plan to win anything, number 52 needs to find his way into camp. Those remain the facts. Granted, training camp is less than a week old. However, Mack’s absence resonates throughout the facility. Whether you listen to either Jon Gruden or Bruce Irvin, they arrived at the same point, in vastly different way. After reading Gruden’s entire quote on Mack missing the start of came, several things pop to mind. First, here is the quote, in pieces. I thought the quotes needed to breathe a bit and analyze without passion.
“We weren’t very good last year on defense with Khalil Mack“,
Whether anyone likes that comment or not, Gruden tells the truth there. In 2017, the Raiders under Ken Norton could not stop a sneeze. While they improved under John Pagano, the entire defense struggle. However, Gruden also forget that Mack saw double teams. In addition, his did not enjoy any interior push or sustained consistency from the other ends. Yet, through all of this, Mack tallied another double-digit sack season. While he made an initially true statement, the Raiders rely on Mack, maybe too much to provide the lone pass rush
“We’ve got to get a better pass rush, we’ve got to play better defense, period. And we hope Khalil gets here, but in the time being, we’ve got plenty of guys who need work.”
Now, the first part of this quote again sees Gruden telling the truth. The Raiders need to get home on defense more often. Giving an opposing quarterback time will result in losses. If you look at the second statement, Gruden provides the most clarity of anything he said on Monday. Oakland cannot wait for Khalil Mack to show up. Meanwhile, the other rushers do need the practice time to support Mack when he does return. In addition, Gruden, in his defense, cannot coach a player that is not in camp. As a result, shifting his focus remains the proper move.
On the other hand, DE Bruce Irvin offers a different spin on the situation.
“We can’t worry about who isn’t here because when Khalil gets tired, when he goes out of the game, the guys who are here have to go into the game and play while he is tired,”
Like Gruden, Irvin focuses his energy on those attending camp. However, Irvin and Mack are extremely close, and he realizes that Mack needs other players to step up as well. Where the difference resides is the phrasing. If you solely went on Gruden’s words, you would feel alarmed. In contrast, Irvin takes a calmer approach.
Given these quotes, you rather see two sides while each made the same point. I think with Gruden, his bluntness worries folks and causes a cause for concern. Irvin said something similar. The Raiders need to pay Khalil Mack and that is something we all can agree upon.