Does Khalil Mack lack pass rush technique?


The Oakland Raiders are lucky to have Khalil Mack. He has solidified a portion of their run game and is going to be a solid player for years to come, But fans want him to be a superstar. A major force against the pass, to go with his great run stopping ability.

However, if this is to be achieved for Mack and he is to reach true superstar status, he desperately needs to develop his pass rushing techniques.

Mack has not recorded a sack in four of the Raiders six games this year. According to Pro Football Focus he has not recorded a QB hit in five of those six games. He only has three sacks through six games, recording two against the Browns and one against the Bears. PFF does have him down for 23 QB hurries, tied for 3rd most in the NFL for outside linebackers in a 3-4 defense. The hurries are subjective and I don’t really hang my hat on that stat.

I watched every pass rush for Khalil Mack this year and his problem is strictly technique. He tries the same half bull rush, half speed rush every single time. He punches first and then tries speed around the blocker. Without fail, every time.

The offensive tackles blocking him don’t ever have to worry about anything different. So they dig in for the punch and then push him around the outside of the pocket. To make matters worse his technique on the speed rush is horrible. He doesn’t dip his inside shoulder low enough to get under the tackles pad level, so he gets pushed around the outside of the QB.

He has tried a spin move three times. Against the Browns and it produced one of his three sacks this year. Against the Bears and he fell on his face. Against the Chargers, again to no avail, as he sort of stopped half way through it. He executed proper speed rushing technique on one play against the Browns, which led to Aldon Smith’s sack at the end of the first half.

Mack has been having such poor production against the tackles that the Raiders moved him inside against a guard, next to Aldon, against the Chargers. They must figure his bull rush is better suited inside if that’s all he can do. He still had satisfactory production, producing one holding call and a possible hurry. Just like the tackles, the guard dug in his heels on the second rush, because he knew what was coming.

This coaching staff is not helping Khalil either. They obviously have not worked well enough with him on technique, as it shows on Sundays. They also are not running enough line stunts to try and get him advantageous angles against opposing lineman. It’s obvious they see his struggles on film, but they have not been able to fix it. That’s one knock I have on this coaching staff so far this season.

As I have said before, Khalil needs to dedicate time to perfect a minimum of three pass rushing techniques. I suggest the Reggie White forearm club, the Dwight Freeney spin and the LT hand swipe speed rush. Add in your standard bull rush and this is a full complement of moves that will keep every tackle in the league guessing. If he is to be great, that has to be his focus for the remainder of the year and every offseason. To develop his pass rushing techniques into an All-Pro level.

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