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Khalil Mack continues his growth as the Raiders’ “Franchise”

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NAPA — Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack doesn’t get flustered easily, but Derek Carr managed to do the trick.

While Mack was speaking to a throng of reporters recently at Raiders training camp, the quarterback walked by and shouted out, “Franchise.”

“DC!,” Mack shouted back to Carr. “Really?”

Yes, really.

Mack is beginning his second year in the NFL and is part of a defense that includes future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson and two-time Pro Bowl selection Justin Tuck. But it’s clear that Mack, the No. 5 overall pick in 2014 draft, is the unit’s future.

“That guy is a freak,” said Carr, who during one recent play in practice felt the heat from Mack moments after receiving the snap.

“Usually that play doesn’t look like that from the defensive side of it,” Carr said, “but when you get a top-five pick over there, especially someone who is a top-100 player, he’s one of the best at his position, he’s going to make plays like that.”

Mack was ranked No. 49 on the NFL’s recent top-100 list that’s voted on by the players. He’s the highest rated Raider (Woodson at No. 64 is the only other on the list) and the third-highest defensive player from the AFC West.

Carr said facing Mack in practice is just like battling Kansas City’s Justin Houston and Tamba Hali or Denver’s Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware — all fellow linebackers on the top-100.

Mack wasn’t quite ready to accept that type of praise.

“I’m trying to go out and be the best player I can be,” Mack said. “My name is Khalil so I want to be the best Khalil. What he says about me, I appreciate it but I’ve still got a long way to go.”

Mack backed up Carr’s compliments by referring to him as the “Foundation” and it’s true the top two picks in last year’s draft are the ones the Raiders are looking toward to lead the turnaround after 12 straight non-winning seasons.

“They’ve got a lot of growth in front of them,” coach Jack Del Rio said of Carr and Mack. “You have to work in order to have that. They’ve got great work ethic, and that gives them a chance.”

Carr showed his share of flashes while starting all 16 games as a rookie and Mack’s initial campaign saw him finish fourth on the team with 75 tackles, second with 4.0 sacks and third in the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.

The Raiders hope to have him get after the quarterback more this season and he’ll see time at defensive end in some formations. He said he enjoys running around and staying busy at practice.

“I’m here to play football,” Mack said. “I love this game. I love doing the linebacker drills and the defensive line drills because it’s helping me get better. And that’s I want to do. I want to help this team be better and be great.”

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Jimmy Durkin

Sports writer for the Bay Area News Group, covering the Raiders.

  • RaiderCODE

    Vic Tafur ‏@VicTafur 2m2 minutes ago
    Reggie McKenzie says they’re inexperienced, but the talent level at cornerback is better than it was last season. #Raiders

    No, Reggie, No…

  • SB3

    And all the better that the Whiners play there.

  • RaidingTexas

  • R8erEduc8er

    Before this, a stadium could have been built easily in STL. It’s now made even easier.

  • RAY NJ

    Never hear anything about Bernie Sanders…anywhere.

  • Guest123

    they gonna suck bad this year!

  • Davy Jones

    As I read about Brice Butler feasting on DJ Hayden, I’m not sure I agree.

  • Vic Tafur ‏@VicTafur 43s43 seconds ago

    McKenzie said moving Taiwan Jones back to RB was a “no brainer, especially the way (OC) Bill Musgrave is going to use him.” Hmmm …

  • RaiderCODE

    ‏@VicTafur 53s54 seconds ago
    McKenzie said moving Taiwan Jones back to RB was a “no brainer, especially the way (OC) Bill Musgrave is going to use him.” Hmmm …

    sweet! love this kid

  • Dakota

    …..what new talent?

  • R8erEduc8er

    Been there, done that. Why go back? It doesn’t say Raiders to me, but wherever we can get a new stadium is fine by me.

  • RAY NJ

    St. Louis Raiders, huh? Hmm, shorter flight for me.

  • RaiderCODE

    Judge rules St Louis Rams fans can wish all they want, but their team is gone. Long gone.

  • Dakota

    Interesting…..looked great in the preseason his first year, then boom, he was in the doghouse….special teams stud though.

  • Davy Jones

    Different positions, of course. CWood didn’t bash his head into things until it bled every week.

  • RaiderCODE

    its the same people – Reggie is donut-drunk again

  • DutchRaid

    What do you think of Biden running? Kinda always thought of him as the democratic Dan Quayle?

  • Dakota

    Mark grew up in LA. Goes to strip clubs in LA. Is a clipper’s fan. To him, the Raiders going to LA is a return home……and a place where the team can make a profit without having to spend way under the salary cap.

  • RaiderCODE

    he fumbled a couple times and was not allowed to go again -but his running ability and speed is unquestionable – can fix fumbling issues – give this guy a few touches a game on offense and watch him make plays

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    No more a blowhard than the pr-ck in office. Rather have a blowhard who has accomplished something than the do-nothing, know-nothing we have now. He’s a pure wuss and a fake. “Yes, I used to see a lot of baseball games…after all, I’m from Chicago, ..took in a lot of games at ComiNskey Field while Michelle watched her team from the North Side.”

    (Whoops, Barry, anyone knows, particularly baseball fans, people from Chicgo, and generally, people who know HISTORY, since COMISKEY PARK and the original owner of the team, COMISKEY, were a part of American history, like Yankee Stadium….)

    Converstaion with NBC anchor continues (Costas, as I recall)…

    “Care to tell us your favorite players from that team?”

    “Uh, uh, well, uh, uh, ya know…I liked all of them, uh uh” (mind you, the Sox and famous coach Guillen, along with AJ P. had just recently taken MLB by storm…a club full of “characters” but Barry couldn’t name one, not one….

    He continued by trying some deflection…

    “Ya know, I grew up in Hawaii, where the nearest team was a long ways away so I grew up an A’s fan.”

    INterviewer: “OH, those A’s were something in those days. Who were your favorites?”

    “UH, ah, ah, like I say, no favorites, just liked ’em….”

    By now it has dawned on Costas that Mr. POTUS has been lying his way through the interview…knows NOTHING of baseball…..fake everything….

  • Yeah it was the one area we did not address….this off season.

  • SB3

    His best game was against the Disc on Thursday night in 2011. Showed some flash.

  • the dickish dr robert
  • Dakota

    That would be a “big fkin deal!”

  • RAY NJ

    He’s hit his ceiling.

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    TJ will disappoint you–bad hands and a fumbler. Has great straight line speed, that’s about it.

  • DutchRaid

    “can fix fumbling issues – give this guy a few touches a game on offense and watch him make plays”
    Yeah…see Tiki Barber and Curtis Martin…Taiwan has shown he will work hard to succeed…or it appears like that.

  • Yesterdays tweets

    Scott Bair ‏@BairCSN 17h17 hours ago

    Jonathan Dowling and George Atkinson III get into it on the practice field. Extended shoving match gets a little contentious

    Scott Bair ‏@BairCSN 18h18 hours ago

    Stacy McGee and Clive Walford doing side work today. Both guys running pretty well

    Scott Bair ‏@BairCSN 17h17 hours ago

    I know nobody’s tackling to the ground and practice ain’t game action. But this Michael Dyer kid shows you something now and then.

  • Dakota

    Fairy dust turned DJ into a talented player? Or will now allow McGill to stay within 10 yards of a Denver receiver?

  • Its HORRIBLE!!!

    The wind is everywhere in that stadium there is no escape from it the place was POORLY designed I agree what a waste of a golden opportunity.

  • SB3

    We are bringing back Terry McDaniel to help our thin secondary? Nice!!

  • the dickish dr robert

    new post

  • RaidingTexas

    I guess the pic I posted earlier didn’t compute in their heads.

  • Dakota

    Sadly, you need to replace St. Louis Rams with Oakland Raiders in that statement.

  • The good news is our run defense will be in the top 10 the way teams are going to throw on us all year…

  • lefty12

    Thanks coach.LMFAO

  • LeBrons#1fan

    Thanks for posting all the tweets here. I’m on lunch trying to get a quick recap

  • lefty12

    Yeah,because if you don’t have a bunch of 30 year old,end of their career DBs you can’t play.

  • JLofty

    HOF!

  • LeBrons#1fan

    If McDaniel is signed, it shuts the door on who?? Orr, Lumpkin & McGee? Seems like a no brainer

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    Yeah, you’ll be CMFAO soon.

  • marks hair

    It’s either a zero-tolerance policy or their special exceptions. The end