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Raiders want Bruce Irvin rushing the passer more

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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.

  • Raiderkoolaid

    My hope is for Ronnie Stanley to still be on the board at 14.

  • SnBG

    I’ve argued in the past that mothers may, in the end, determine the fate of football. But they haven’t yet. The game just continues to grow in popularity.

  • RAY NJ

    That’s about what Irvin averaged.

  • Dakota

    Man, I gotta agree with you here bro. You are really bringing your A game today.

  • RaidingTexas

    He trolls himself?

  • Thec

    What up to the great and faithful Raider NATION….
    Hope ALL of you guys and gals are doing exceptional.

  • SilverandBlack666

    Soccer moms rule the country unfortunately. They make stupid laws every time I turn around — now the pot clubs in San Jose have to be in “light industrial” areas only because of them.

    I started a new group called DAMM “drunks against mad mothers” you want to join?

  • Thec

    Hey man dont be so mean…BTW, i am on my lunch break.

  • Dakota

    Mind-blowing isn’t it?

  • SilverandBlack666

    Good afternoon Thec

    How are you this fine day….

  • Dave

    Dodgers need to pick up this Torres guy on Cuban team

  • Thec

    What is good my GREAT Bro 6?

    I am doing outstanding Bro….

  • SilverandBlack666

    its not raining! so I am stoked.

  • Thec

    You all moved in?

  • RAY NJ

    They’re my customers

  • R8erEduc8er

    Sorry, Irvin and Jack. JFB said he’s not a pass rusher.

  • SnBG

    I’m in. but right now I have to be out. Back later.

  • RaidingTexas

    Deker Carr? Is that pronounced “decker”, “deeker”, or “de kerr”?

  • Dakota
  • Happy Tuesday Newsday, everyone!

  • RaidingTexas

    Sounds like someone needs another stint in rehab.

  • RAY NJ

    22 sacks in 4 years isn’t earth shattering

  • inonewordraider

    Dont feed the troll, free dakota

  • R8erEduc8er

    So what’s Jack thinking??

  • Morilla_00

    just keep them out of that city

  • DutchRaid

    How was he used in Seattle? Wasn’t sent after the QB very often?

  • R8erEduc8er

    Is the last paragraph yours or PFT’s? lol

  • RaidingTexas

    Lol wow.

  • RAY NJ

    44% rush, 18% coverage

  • R8erEduc8er

    Not a smokescreen?

  • Dakota
  • R8erEduc8er

    As Charlie, right?

  • 1960AutumnWind

    2 in 2 years?

  • Dakota

    Chop blocks are gone:
    ESPN
    BOCA RATON, Fla. — NFL owners approved a series of minor rule changes Tuesday and saved their more difficult decisions for Wednesday, the final day of their annual meetings.

    Among the approved rules was the elimination of all chop blocks, an expansion of the horse collar rule to include instances in which defenders grab the nameplate of the jersey and a permanent approval of the 15-yard line as the line of scrimmage for extra points.

    Left unaddressed, at least for Tuesday, is a proposal that calls for a player to be automatically ejected if he commits two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in one game. The league will also continue discussions on a proposal to move the touchback after kickoffs to the 25-yard line, and there was no vote Tuesday on several proposals to expand instant replay. Further discussions will take place Wednesday, and a vote on one or several of them could take place before owners adjourn at midday.

    Several coaches expressed concern about the automatic ejection rule during morning deliberations, according to New York Giants owner John Mara.

    “They worry it will lead to more players being ejected,” Mara said. “But we don’t look at it that way. I think the effect it will have will be, if a player has one, then that might make him think about it before mouthing off to an opponent again in the same game.”

    Mara added: “I think we have a sportsmanship problem that we have to deal with. This is one option for dealing with it, and it’s not dead yet.”

    At the AFC coaches breakfast earlier Tuesday morning, Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he worried about the possibility of opposing teams baiting players after they have been called for one unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

    “Let’s just say one of your best players is going to get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty,” O’Brien said. “Is he going to become a target? Meaning, are they going to go after this guy to try to get him to do something that he gets kicked out of the game? That would be my concern about it, but I’m going to do what they tell me to do.”

    Also at the coaches breakfast, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh passionately defended his team’s proposal to expand replay to include all rulings but a handful of judgment calls. No action was taken on it Tuesday.

    “There were five games last year that were determined by nonreviewable calls,” Harbaugh said. “[They] determined the outcome of the game. The fans don’t understand that. They don’t want to look at it and see the official make a mistake [that] everyone saw in real time that the league said, ‘It’s not reviewable. We can’t fix that.’ What do you mean, we can’t fix it? We can’t fix that when we decide not to be able to fix it. We can fix it. Just fix it.”

    ESPN New York Giants reporter Dan Graziano contributed to this story.

  • RAY NJ

    Damn, forgot to get a card!

  • R8erEduc8er

    Yea. I paused before posting that but said wth.

  • Born With a Patch

    I agree with you, but sports gambling isn’t allowed in casinos around the nation. Either way, the Raiders are just getting hosed by the other owners

  • Morilla_00

    The Broncos cry.

  • R8erEduc8er

    He’ll be getting that in grade school often. I think (and hope) it’s pronounced Decker for the record.

  • Morilla_00

    registration is down in youth leagues. Pop Warner just had to settle a multi million dollar lawsuit (CTE)

    It’s happening.

  • Dakota

    I am not letting my two youngest sons play unless safety concerns are met……

  • R8erEduc8er

    Sign NBA player Nate Robinson to return our kicks/punts?

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    The horse collar change is ridiculous: imagine the refs using instant replay to show if the defenders fingers at any point touched one of the letters of the nameplate.

    Or, even worse, to show if the defenders fingers at any point touched the stitched-on seam of the nameplate. Gawd. Talk about micromanaging.

    “Whoops, there,” says Mike Tirico…”a challenge flag has been thrown. We can’t tell if Mack touched the name plate stitching on Rivers’ jersey.” (go to commercial).

  • Morilla_00

    I would say not until high school. Even then I would be on the fence about it. Lucky I have a girl.

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    Limp-wristed POTUS all right.

  • DutchRaid

    Ha ha…yeah, I was hoping for more insight…

  • This sounds exactly like last year and Dan Willams and Justin Ellis in the middle.
    You simply said they would be better rushing the passer here because they weren’t asked to do it previously.
    That charade lasted about 6 weeks .
    You are who you are at 28 years old in the NFL.
    Of course, I frequently say Bruce Irvin is a good football player, but you never seem to fit that into your narrative.

  • I would say Seatte used him the best way they knew how to with his skillset.
    Rangy, athletic, not very good bend to get around the corner as a speed rusher. Good blitzer, great effort guy.

  • Jeezus no.

  • R8erEduc8er

    I’m only talking about pass rushing. Sounds more like you with Mack. Just saying.