Oakland Raiders on the rise, but defense needs change

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August 30, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) during the second quarter in a preseason NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals at O.co Coliseum. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 30-23. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Change on the Strong Side

Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas told Sirius XM Radio, “I’m a big huge of Khalil Mack. I think he’s going to be the next Lawrence Taylor. I really mean that. He’s a fantatic player. Then you throw in another All-Pro in Aldon Smith across, on the side of the ball from him and they’re gonna be a defense that’s really tough to handle all season.”

Taylor was the most dominant all-around OLB ever and Mack was one of the most dominant OLB’s last year per ProFootballFocus. Ray-Ray Armstrong is a huge step down from Mack so Del Rio needs to put him back at his old spot even if the Raiders are interested in him as a pure pass rushing end. A major weakness in the Raiders defense would be turned into major a strength with such a move.

Add that Aldon Smith, who just came to the Raiders not knowing the defense, can just focus on rushing the passer. The Raiders need to blitz more anyway so they can send Mack as he is also a nickel rusher. Putting Mack at Leo was a good idea with no other edge rusher there but the Raiders have Smith on the team now so the move back to his rookie position may be something that the team has to consider going forward.

Next: Change at the Mike