The Raiders defense revolves around one player: Khalil Mack.
The edge rusher faces double and triple teams every game, but still manages to wreak havoc. Mack has 40 quarterback pressures, the fifth most in the NFL. He also leads the team with 4.5 sacks and is second with 34 solo tackles.
It is nothing new for the 2016 defensive player of the year. He makes plays. But the problem for the Raiders is that the rest of the defensive line has been awful.
#Raiders DI Eddie Vanderdoes has recorded four total pressures in Weeks 2-9, which ranks tied for second-to-last among DIs with 100+ pass rush snaps in said weeks.
Who's he tied with? #Raiders DI Treyvon Hester.
— Austin Gayle (@AustinGayle_PFF) November 9, 2017
The Raiders have two of the least productive interior defensive lineman in the NFL. Even when Khalil Mack is commanding double teams, Vanderdoes and Hester can’t make plays.
The end result is a defense that offers little resistance in the passing game. Oakland has the third worst sack rate in the NFL at 4.3 percent.
The only other defensive lineman that has helped Mack has been Mario Edwards, who has 3.5 sacks this season.
But the interior line is the problem. And it could continue to be a problem into the future, as the Raiders are spending all their money in other places.
The offensive line is the highest paid in the NFL. Derek Carr has the second largest contract in league history. Even Marshawn Lynch took precedence over the defense in the offseason, as he signed a two year, $9 million deal.
The Raiders have to go cheap on defense. They have to go young. They have to find value in players that are not obvious stars. But they have missed on the defensive line this season.
Both Vanderdoes and Hester are rookies making under $1 million this season. Moving forward it maybe a parade of rookie defensive lineman playing next to Mack as they search for a cheap option to make plays and help the superstar.
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.