Oakland Raiders Week 9 Stats and Awards
Nov 8, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Oakland Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith (99) celebrates a sack as Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) lays injured on the ground during the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 38-35. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Khalil Mack: With the second highest grade on the Raiders, and the 3rd highest grade of any defensive player in the league at +5.6, Khalil Mack continues to be a menace to opposing offenses. In typical Mack fashion, he didn’t show up much on the stat sheet, but he registered 6 QB Hurries on the day.
Mack is a player where the box score certainly doesn’t show the whole story. Offenses are flat out afraid of him, he’s doubled teamed on passing down, and typically completely avoided on run downs.
Until the secondary can start actually covering receivers so Mack will have a reasonable amount of time to get to the QBs, Ken Norton is going to have to get a bit more creative with him. I did see him line up at Middle Linebacker on a few plays and rush up the middle to try to take advantage of the second string center, so that’s a positive step.
Mario Edwards Jr.: Edwards has been doing a solid job filling in for injured Justin Tuck, and this week he really stepped into the role getting a +5 overall grade. This was far and away the best performance he’s put on in the NFL, and the first time we got a real chance to see the massive potential of the rookie. Edwards led the team in Run Defense with a +4.2 grade, amassing 3 Stops for no gain or loss of yardage on run plays.
Many people questioned Reggie Mackenzie’s choice to take Edwards so high, but it seems to be paying off so far. He’s a freakish athletic talent, with enough strength and versatility to play any position on the Defensive Line, but many questioned his work ethic. With Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton as his coaches, I don’t see laziness being a problem for him.
Dan Williams: Williams continues to be a great addition to the team week in and week out, picking up a +4.2 grade against the Steelers gives him the 3rd highest grade to a NT in the NFL. With 2 QB hurries, and 2 Run Stops he was a factor in both portions of the defense, getting his highest grade in Run Defense of +3.6
Justin Ellis: The big man is back in the middle, Justin “Jelly” Ellis played a solid game with an overall +1.9. 2 QB hits and a Run Stop only helped his case.
Ellis is certainly an important piece of this defensive line, it’s great to have him back in full swing after a limited number of snaps last week. Ellis’ +1.4 is the best of the season for him, and given his run stopping ability he’s going to be needed next week against the Vikings.
Aldon Smith: Aldon’s contract is very much production based, double digit sack numbers is the key to him making the most money, and he took a step closer to that goal with the defense’s only sack against the Steelers, add a QB hit, a hurry, and two run stops and an overall grade of +1.8 grade is looking like a great day at the office.
Smith’s sack total for the year is just 3, and with eight games left in the season some people might consider it a long shot that he gets to the 10 sack total he needs to be at in order to get the full bonus on his contract, but this is Aldon Smith we are talking about. He’s capable of picking up 5 sacks in a game if the right matchup presents itself, so expect Smith to be gunning for big stats over the second half of the season.
Next: Week 9 Defensive Ratings