Khalil Mack and Company Will Finally Pressure the Quarterback
Through three games, the Raiders’ top-tier defensive line led by All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack and former Seattle Seahawk Bruce Irvin, has failed to live up to the hype.
Oakland has sacked opposing quarterbacks just three times this season, tying for 28th in the NFL, and if that wasn’t a hard enough pill to swallow, Mack is responsible for zero of their three sacks.
Yes, he is regularly double-teamed and even triple-teamed, but if he is going to become a premier pass-rusher in this league, he needs to get to the quarterback regardless of the circumstances.
Fortunately for Mack, he will have a favorable matchup against Baltimore’s banged-up offensive line.
Rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley, the sixth-overall pick in this year’s draft, has yet to be ruled out for Sunday’s game; however, the former Notre Dame standout has missed all practices this week with a foot injury, which in turn, points to veteran tackle James Hurst getting the start.
Hurst, a former undrafted free agent in 2013 out of North Carolina, has 13 career starts for the Ravens.
Opposite of Hurst, Baltimore’s right tackle Ricky Wagner has started the season strong, ranking 14th (81.2) among all NFL tackles.
In an effort to find the best matchup, Mack and Irvin will likely split reps picking on Hurst.
Both of the Raiders’ edge-rushers will have the upper hand against either of the Ravens’ tackles, and with that being said, Flacco will need a helping hand off his back, early and often.