‘Almost Unblockable’ Khalil Mack Reason to Watch 0-7 Oakland Raiders

Your mama never told you, but there is more than one way to watch a football game.

By far the most common method is an unfocused view that allows your eye to gravitate toward the ball. You’re watching a team play and judging it by the result of each play.

There is another method usually reserved for a second viewing—like replays and breakdowns. You’re watching just a few key players and their impact on any given play.

Watch the 0-7 Oakland Raiders with the first method, and you’re going to be disappointed the vast majority of the time. Focus your attention on rookie outside linebacker Khalil Mack, and the viewing experience changes for the better.

In nine out of the last 11 years, there was little reason to watch the lowly Raiders other than to accumulate points on an imaginary fan loyalty card. Mack has given fans a reason to watch the Raiders and dream of better days in the hopefully not-so-distant future.

It’s been a long time since the Raiders had a defender considered one of the best at his position and even longer since they had an impact rookie on defense. To find an impact rookie in Oakland like Mack, you have to go back to 1998 when then-cornerback, now-safety Charles Woodson intercepted five passes, forced two fumbles and won Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Simply by looking at the stat sheet, it would appear that Mack isn’t playing up to the hype. He has no sacks, no forced fumbles and just one batted pass. Mack leads the team with 35 solo tackles, but everyone knows that tackle statistics are overrated because manipulation is so common.

Dive a little deeper in the statistics and Mack looks better. According to TeamRankings.com, Mack has 10 tackles for a loss. That’s as many as Von Miller, Justin Houston and J.J. Watt, and second only to Lavonte David. That’s not that surprising considering Mack tied Jason Babin’s NCAA re...

About the Author