The Las Vegas Raiders’ trade for Davante Adams and the Denver Broncos’ trade for Russell Wilson stole the spotlight in the AFC West this offseason but the Los Angeles Chargers also made big moves. The trade for Khalil Mack is likely the biggest move the team made. Though he’s coming off of an injury-plagued 2021 season, the former Defensive Player of the Year is still elite.
The Raiders certainly aren’t thrilled to see their former star pass rusher return to the AFC West. Derek Carr and Mack have maintained a close friendship over the years as they were both selected by the silver and black in the 2014 NFL Draft. Mack will now be chasing the quarterback down twice a season for the foreseeable future. Despite the fact that the two will be rivals now, Mack made sure to express his love for Carr.
“My dog, Derek,” Mack said during his introductory press conference. “It’s going to be fun. Every time that I play against that guy, it’s fun. He’s a special, special guy as well.
“It’s going to be fun to see him twice per year.”
Carr shouldn’t be as excited to see the pass rusher twice a year.
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Mack Looking Forward to Joining Chargers Defense
The Chargers hired a defensive-minded head coach in Brandon Staley last year but the team’s defense largely held them back. In a must-win game in Week 18 against the Raiders last season, the defense gave up 35 points in a loss. The team responded by adding Mack and cornerback J.C. Jackson. They also still have their first-round pick in the upcoming draft. Mack is excited about joining the defensive talent in Los Angeles.
“When you talk about Joey Bosa, Derwin James, J.C. Jackson, Asante Samuel Jr., all of these different intangibles — and these guys are very explosive players and explosive playmakers — I’m looking forward to it,” Mack said. “Like I said, that’s the easy part, to talk about it. But I’m an action guy. That’s what I’m looking forward to, putting in the work and winning ball games, ultimately.”
Do Raiders Still Have an Edge on the Chargers?
There’s a lot of excitement surrounding both the Raiders and the Chargers right now. The former upgraded the offense while the latter upgraded the defense. The biggest question facing both teams is at head coach. Josh McDaniels is joining the Raiders after a long stint as one of the NFL’s best offensive coordinators with the New England Patriots. However, he’s been a head coach before with the Denver Broncos and that was a disaster. That was a long time ago and he’s learned a lot along the way but it’s difficult to know what to expect before the team starts playing games.
Staley has a season under his belt with the Chargers and left a lot to desired. The team has one of the best rosters in the NFL and only managed nine wins while missing the playoffs. His aggressive style of coaching didn’t always pay off. While the Chargers have the better overall roster, the Raiders could still have the edge on them if McDaniels proves to be a capable head coach.
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