The Oakland Raiders have started 0-2 under new head coach Jon Gruden, and one of the issues for the team has been the defense's inability to get after the quarterback, with just two sacks this season.
“We gotta do something to get more pressure, maybe call more blitzes," Gruden acknowledged after the game, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic.
There is a certain level of irony in Gruden making those comments just two weeks after trading one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL, Khalil Mack, to the Chicago Bears. In his first game with the Bears, Mack registered a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, an interception and a defensive touchdown.
The Raiders and Mack were engaged in a contract standoff, and Gruden claimed Mack no longer wanted to be in Oakland during an interview with ESPN's Lisa Salters:
"Obviously, Khalil Mack didn't want to play here. That's what's being missed here. He was under contract, Lisa. He was under contract. He never showed up for an OTA. He never showed up for training camp. And obviously wasn't going to show up for the season. Don't forget that. We have to get ready to play. I want players that want to be here, that want to help us put this thing back in high gear."
Ultimately, Mack was traded to the Bears alongside a 2020 second-round pick and a 2020 fifth-round pick (conditional) in exchange for two first-rounders (2019-20), a third-rounder (2020) and a sixth-rounder (2019). The Bears then agreed on a massive six-year, $141 million contract extension with Mack.
"I don't believe we were anywhere close to where the Bears were," Gruden said about the contract Mack signed, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com. "The Bears made us an offer that we thought was really unique and very, very tough to say goodbye to a great player, but here we are today."
And so the Raiders lost a player who has registered 37.5 sacks in his past 49 games, leaving Oakland with an anemic pass rush in the process. Gruden has already admitted that losing Mack's impact was going to be an issue the team had to overcome going forward:
On Sunday, edge-rusher Bruce Irvin put the onus on the players still with the team to generate more pressure:
Irvin and Maurice Hurst are the only Raiders to register a sack this season.
Perhaps the divorce with Mack was inevitable. Certainly, the Raiders got back quite the haul for trading him. But it's also impossible to ignore that their pass rush would probably be less of an issue if the two-time All-Pro was still wearing the Silver and Black.