When head coach Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders made the decision to trade Khalil Mack, it rocked the NFL world and angered many fans. The Raiders defense was already a question mark coming into the 2018 NFL season, but Mack was a cornerstone to build around.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, that side of the field has not been great so far this season. The team ranks in the bottom third of the league in yards and points allowed while only picking up two sacks through two games so far. Needless to say, having a pass rusher like Mack would help some things.
Gruden apparently agrees, but is not sure yet how the Raiders will address it. He recently noted that it is hard to find a great pass rusher, which no doubt angered many more fans, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic:
Gruden: “it’s hard to find a great pass rusher.” … He really needs to start punting all pass rush questions
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 19, 2018
In fairness to Gruden, that quote did come in response to a question asking why it is hard to find great pass rushers and he was simply affirming what the reporter asked. Even still, with the knowledge that finding pass rushers is extremely difficult, many will continue to wonder why the Raiders chose to get rid of the one they had.
It does not help that Mack has been a force so far with the Chicago Bears. In two games, he has totaled eight tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception that was returned for a touchdown for a Bears defense that looks to be among the NFL’s best.
The Mack trade will be one that sticks with Gruden throughout his tenure with the Raiders. If he is unable to find another great pass rusher to replace Mack and the Raiders defense continues to struggle, it could ultimately turn out to be his demise.