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Raiders want Bruce Irvin rushing the passer more

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irvin

Bruce Irvin could boost his sack totals with the way Raiders coach Jack Del Rio wants to use him. (Stephen Brashear, Associated Press)

Don’t be surprised if Bruce Irvin’s sack totals get a nice boost.

The Raiders’ newest linebacker had 22 sacks during his four years with the Seattle Seahawks, but Oakland plans to send him after the quarterback more often.

“Certainly want to take advantage of some of his abilities,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio told reporters Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in Boca Raton, Fla. “I think he’s a really good football player. He’s gifted athletically. Super long and fast and tough.

“We feel like the one area we’d like to use him more is the going forward part. He’s done a lot of coverage. He really is more natural at rushing, but he’s been asked to do a lot of coverage and he’s done a really nice job for them. Obviously he’s been a part of probably the best defense in the league the last four years.”

Those words are very similar to what Del Rio and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. were saying a year ago about Khalil Mack, who jumped from a four-sack rookie season to 15 last year, good for second in the NFL.

Irvin, according to Pro Football Focus, has on average played 18.4 percent of his snaps in pass coverage for his career and rushed the passer just 44.3 percent of the time. Mack, by comparison, rushed the passer on 56.2 percent of his snaps last year, an increase of 10 percent from his rookie season.

“It was something that Khalil Mack liked last year,” Del Rio said of the increased emphasis on pass rushing. “Very similarly with Bruce, we’d like to bring him forward more often. The guy’s a gifted pass rusher. It’s going to be tough to deal with his length and speed on our defense.”

The defense’s other big addition, cornerback Sean Smith, also fits that long and athletic mold Del Rio and general manager Reggie McKenzie love and the 6-foot-3 veteran should big a big help in the secondary.

“Love his competitiveness,” Del Rio said. “Sean’s a long athlete. He is a veteran with an understanding of who he is and where he fits in this league. He brings that knowledge of playing that position at a high level for a long time in this league. We needed a veteran presence in our secondary. It was good to get it.”

One thing that’s helped the Raiders gain relevance in the league in Del Rio’s first year-plus is the strong working relationship he’s developed with McKenzie. They’ve got a similar design on how to build a team.

“We’ve had a unified approach from Day 1 of getting in the building,” Del Rio said. “We both like big, strong, tough guys and we’ve added a few of those guys over the last couple of years.”

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Jimmy Durkin

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

  • SB3

    Not so fast

  • Born With a Patch

    Better off waiting for David Robinson’s son to play in the NFL

  • That is what I am talking about as well.
    Dan Williams and Justin Ellis. Same argument as last year.
    And you were wrong.

  • Of course we are going to ask Irvin to rush the passer more here then in Seattle, we have nowhere near the defensive talent they have.

  • R8erEduc8er

    I was only kidding lol

  • RAY NJ

    44.3% rush 18.4% coverage

  • DutchRaid

    That is getting better…

  • BABY AL

    New post

  • 1960AutumnWind

    What about the other 38 percent?

  • WARaider

    Basically Raool saying look at this clown

  • RAY NJ

    Thanks, Dutch. Took a lot of research, I’m tired now.

  • RAY NJ

    Run

  • R8erEduc8er

    I would have admitted that day that I could easily be wrong about 2 fatties not getting more sacks.

  • Morilla_00

    hahahahah, I know right. I’ll have a whole different set of problems

  • DutchRaid

    So what do you think about Conklin now as our No. 1 draft pick?

  • Raiders21

    The guy who also said Mack would only be a good run defender and not a pass rusher

  • 1960AutumnWind

    Not much… Unless you found a treasure trove of film previously undiscovered of him blocking effectively.

  • Raider O

    Lol
    Hope you enjoyed your lunch bud.

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