Oakland Raiders Defense Now Built Around Khalil Mack

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Oct 13, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton (50) tackles New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Saints 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Personnel Moves Add to Front-Seven

The Raiders built this defense around Mack to stop the run and middle linebacker Curtis Lofton is a big part of that. Lofton is a hard-thumping tackling machine with 145 tackles last year to sure up the middle of that defense. If Lofton has a good year, there will be a lot of 3rd-and-longs to rush the passer.

Dan Williams is a Raider now over Terrance Knighton because he can push the pass-pocket and stuff the run while Knighton is a two-down player. Mack didn’t have that last year as there was many a time that he beat his man only for the quarterback to step up in the pocket. With Williams there now, opposing quarterbacks will have nothing to step up into.

The reason why Mack didn’t blitz much in 2014 is because he and Sio Moore were the only two linebackers on the team that can cover. Middle linebacker from 2014 Miles Burris is horrible in coverage the Raiders couldn’t leave him on a tight end or pass-catching running back. And you need at least two linebackers that are at least decent in coverage.

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