On the eve of the Raiders first preseason game, questions abound. In this edition of the roundtable writers Ray Aspuria and Anthony Zaragoza discuss topics from camp. Also, we will preview the upcoming season.
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How will Bruce Irvin continue to impart wisdom on Khalil Mack?
Zaragoza: Irvin can pass along his knowledge of Ken Norton Jr.’s scheme to Mack.
Next, will continue to take some of the attention away from Mack on passing downs.
Lastly, Irvin will push Mack to improve every day. They feed off each other.
Irvin will act as a sounding board. The two exchange crucial information and technique when it comes to pass rush situations.
Secondly, Irvin complements Mack’s approach perfectly. Mack is diplomatic and will pull players off to side. On the other hand, Number 51 pulls no punches, choosing to approach teammates anywhere. For example, remember Marquette King and Sean Smith.
When Mack steps between the lines, he plays with ferocity. Yet, after the whistle, he gears down to focus. However, Irvin plays the way he seems, constant aggression. Teams need a defensive cornerstone. Plus, they crave that slightly unhinged player to keep offenses guessing. Plus, in any locker room, teams love the outspoken leaders that will keep it real forever. On the field, playing opposite forces teams into rough spots. If they play on the same side, that could be an all day headache.
Which reserve lineman will make the most progress this year?
Aspuria: Vadal Alexander. Throughout camp, Khalil Mack feasts off the second year pro. Facing arguably the best all-around defensive end in the league snap after snap can elevate Alexander’s game.
Zaragoza: Even though he’s hurt at the moment, David Sharpe looks like a guy who can eventually start at RT. The former Florida Gator will learn from Donald Penn to start the season. Under those circumstances he’ll get a bird’s eye view on how to play the tackle position.
Biggs: As mentioned, David Sharpe could settle in to right tackle over the course of the season and grab a job. While Penn holds off, Sharpe could use this chance to open eyes. If he succeeds, the Raiders have a solid right tackle for years. Basically, a mauler that envelops edge rushers.