Oakland Raiders Film Room: OAK at CHI

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Edge Rush Beasts

Coming into this season everyone knew that Khalil Mack would be a force to be reckoned with. No one expected Aldon Smith’s off the field antics would bring him to Oakland and create one of the better pass rush tandems in the league. Now teams struggle to keep a high level rusher off their quarterback from both sides of the line. And in this struggle, Smith and Mack reap rewards from each other’s impact.

Near the end of the first half, Mack and Smith both overwhelm their opposing blockers and work to collapse the pocket around Cutler. Mack pushes around the outside edge while Smith does a skilled crossover move to get back inside.

Mack’s pressure forces Cutler to step up into the collapsing pocket – right into the waiting clutches of Aldon Smith. While credit for the sack may go to Smith alone, it’s because of the collaborative effort they were able to bring Cutler down.

This is one of the better strengths that Oakland needs to leverage as hard as possible against their opponents, particularly as they get into the tougher part of their schedule. This QB pressure takes a lot of weight off the below average secondary. Alternatively, their power run game can force linebackers to cheat forward and leave space in the middle for passes behind them.

This team is still feeling for their rhythm and identity, so some variance in performance is to be expected. As the season progresses the margin for error decreases and the wins get tougher to earn. Hopefully, the Oakland Raiders are up for the challenge.