Since he came into the NFL in 2014, Josh Mauro hasn’t produced eye-popping numbers as a defensive lineman.
Over five seasons he has just three sacks and 11 quarterback hits while starting 30 of 59 games played with the Cardinals, Steelers and Giants.
Yet Mauro has had a strong training camp with the Raiders so far, and when the team released its first depth chart of this summer Monday, Mauro was listed as one starting defensive end opposite rookie Clelin Ferrell.
One reason is, Mauro – a former Stanford standout who went undrafted – has been a strong defender against the run. His presence in the Raiders’ base defense could help the team’s overall scheme, while second-year defensive end Arden Key is utilized in his spot during passing situations.
The Raiders are hoping they can juice their pass rush this season to improve significantly on a league-low total of 13 sacks in 2018. Mauro says he can be part of that plan without necessarily getting sacks himself.
"Everyone wants to talk about 13 sacks," Mauro told Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "If you don’t stop the run, you don’t get to rush the passer. And if things aren’t going well offensively, special teams and defensively and you’re losing games, you’re not in a position to rush the passer. I think it’s more of a collective effort."
Mauro notes that the low sack total was terrible, but the Raiders also were ranked 29th against the run in 2018, so that’s an equally important area on which to improve.
"I do my job," Mauro told Levi Damien of SB Nation. "On first and second down, I stop the run on the edge or anywhere across the line and then on third down if I get the opportunity to move inside and rush and collapse the pocket a little bit."
Mauro will get his first game opportunity with the Raiders Saturday night vs. the visiting Los Angeles Rams.