Raiders LB Mack flashes potential in standout performance

Raiders LB Mack flashes potential in standout performance
August 22, 2014, 10:00 pm
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I’m getting more and more comfortable in my role...
Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack

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GREEN BAY, Wis. –- Raiders defensive end LaMarr Woodley pushed his blocker back when Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers suddenly stepped up in the pocket. He made a quick move inside and earned an easy sack.

After Friday’s 31-21 preseason loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field, Woodley applied credit where it was due.

“Our linebacker on the other side did a great job coming over and freeing me up,” Woodley said. “I was the one that got all the glory.”

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Woodley and the Raiders coaching staff knows a pat on the back goes to “our linebacker,” aka rookie Khalil Mack.

The effort won’t show up on the stat sheet, but it characterized Mack’s best effort of this preseason. You want numbers? The No. 5 overall pick had plenty of those. He recorded five tackles, including two for a loss. He had a pass defensed and intercepted a screen pass thanks in large part to an excellent read.

“I’m getting more and more comfortable in my role,” Mack said. “It was good to get involved and make some plays tonight. You want to get better every time to step on the field, and felt like I was able to do some good things. You have to keep building on these efforts and helping the team play good defense.”

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Mack certainly did that in two-plus quarters against Green Bay’s first unit. It comes on the heels of two unspectacular preseason games. The Raiders kept saying he’d be fine and that he’d make an immediate impact.

Friday’s effort was a sign that he can.

“He played how I thought he could and how I thought he would,” head coach Dennis Allen said. “I’ve been saying all along that he’s going to be a factor for us and that he’s going to be an explosive player. We saw some of that tonight.

“He still has a lot of things he has to get better at, but I think we all saw some of what he can bring to the table.”