With the fanbase trying to tie a bow on the Mack issue, where does Reggie McKenzie fit in the future? In addition, which players step in to fill the void as a leader and playmaker? To answer these questions, FPC Raiders writers Kenneth Berry and Ray Aspuria discuss.
Reggie McKenzie’s Future
None. If reports are true Reggie wanted to keep Khalil, then he should have taken that phone call from Green Bay when they had an opening at GM.
Again, you do not pay a coach a $100 million salary to not make the calls. In that case, McKenzie was neutered when Gruden came aboard and the trade cements that.
If you are Reggie McKenzie, YOU HAVE NO FUTURE WITH THE Oakland Raiders. They disregarded your input in the NFL draft, traded your best player since Marcus Allen. Plus, they are are making trades for high priced backup quarterbacks. Trading Mack was the nail in the coffin. Just leave out the back door when your contract expires. Now, he is a toothless lion at this point.
The Mack Void
Mack brought an accountable presence on defense. Someone that must be blocked, someone that commanded attention. As a result, the Raiders do not have that. Not one defender comes close to the fear Mack instilled.
It will take several drafts, numerous hits, and misses, before the Raiders land another prospect that draws the eyes of an entire offense.
Without Mack, they have a young, versatile defensive line to work with. Bruce Irvin is the leader of the defensive line now. Tank Carradine is a good backup/spot starter who can provide a pass rush and subpackage versatility in nickel formations. Arden Key is a rookie who will make his living as a weak side defensive end and will start at the left defensive end spot, opposite Irvin at right defensive end. The pressure is on him and I do not think he is ready and it is not fair to put the e expectations of Mack’s production on him.
Fadol Brown is a good backup. Frostee Rucker is a trusted veteran in Paul Guenther’s scheme. The core of the Raider defense going forward lies with P.J. Hall, Maurice Hurst, Treyvon Hester, Justin Ellis, and Eddie Vanderdoes. Derrick Johnson must be the leader of the linebacker unit. If Marquel Lee is the starter at middle linebacker, Johnson has to start at outside linebacker with Tahir Whitehead. That formula has worked in Cincinnati with the likes of Vincent Ray, Rey Maualuga, and Vontaze Burfict, who is not the fastest person on the field.
The signing of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie takes a lot of pressure off Gareon Conley to take on number one receivers. Rashaan Melvin and Conley can grow together and life without Mack will force the defense to sink or swim together.