The Raiders know they need Khalil Mack. And Mack, the best player on the Raiders’ roster, wants to get back on the field. Yet so far, Mack is still holding out, waiting for the franchise to get back to him with a long-term contract extension.
It’s not known how long the defensive end will continue to be absent, but his teammates and coaches on the Raiders want him to get back soon.
For know, however, Mack is in Buffalo, staying in shape by working out against players from his former college team in upstate New York.
“I texted him, ‘You try to get out there and guard me with some big-ass Mack Attacks, it ain’t going to be good,” Raiders defensive end Bruce Irvin told Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal Sunday. “He’s working. I talk to him every day. He misses it, but you know how it is, man. He’s working his butt off and when he gets here, he’ll be ready.”
New defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, formerly of the Bengals, hasn’t yet had a chance to work with Mack and get him rolling in the team’s defensive scheme. While Irvin and the rest of the Raiders defenders are on the field and in classrooms in Napa, soaking it in, Mack remains in Buffalo, sweating.
There’s little chance that Mack won’t pick it up – and quickly – once he reports, of course, but Guenther knows Mack and his teammates need to get as many reps as possible this summer so everything becomes second nature by the opening game of the regular season.
“When you change coaches or whatever, it’s part of the NFL,” he said of the team’s new scheme. “I can’t go through everything they were taught last year, so I kind of didn’t worry about it. I said, ‘Erase everything you had from last year. We’re going to start this book with a new chapter and we’re going to write every chapter as we go.”
How long will Mack be out? Nobody’s sure. But it may be a long while.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com wrote that it doesn’t appear Mack will be in camp soon.
He reported sources have told him, “There is no progress. No optimism. No communication. And so, the holdout continues.”