Mack: "I am ready to go out and play ball"


Q: Did you look back at the totality of how you thought you did as a rookie, or did you just start moving ahead?**

Mack: "You've got to look at it in totality, like you said. You have to look at everything you did on film. Different things throughout the year that you've seen in certain games that guys used against you, you have to go back and look at all that stuff and progress and take it forward from there."

Q: A lot of other coaches and other players had a lot of real good things to say about the way that you played and how impressive you were. How did you reflect on your rookie year?

Mack: "I'm not even thinking about that anymore. I'm thinking about progressing, getter better. I'm looking forward to this year."

Q: With all of the changes on the coaching staff, what do you know about your role heading into this season?

Mack: "I know some things, but more than anything, I know these coaches are excited, as well am I. I am ready to go out and play ball now for real."


Q: Have you ever had a coach or a coordinator that has been there and played at the level that Ken Norton, Jr. has? When he talks, does it carry more weight with the players?**

Mack: "Oh, yeah. You can sense it. You can sense it as a player that he's excited and he is a competitor. You almost can feel that intensity that you can feel on the defense when you're out there and it's fourth down and you have a guy out there like that. It can only help that you have a coach as well that has been there and played."

Q: How much are you looking forward to working with Ken Norton, Jr. and Jack Del Rio, who are both linebackers and have both played in the NFL. How much will that relationship benefit you?

Mack: "That's the part I'm looking forward to the most. You can tell that Jack really cares. He has that kind of laid back spirit like that [linebacker]. When it gets real, when the guys go off and the fire starts and the intensity goes up, you can sense that he's ready for that moment. I'm ready to play for him."

Q: Do you have a sense of how different this defense will be?

Mack: "Yeah, I have a sense of what it is going to be like. I am just ready to play ball. Whatever they throw at us, I'm ready to do it."

Q: How important is this offseason program going to be for you?

Mack: "It's going to be very important, especially from the approach of knowing the things that you can get better at this season, knowing what you didn't do so well last season. It's going to be very important for me as a player, progressing forward."


The best photos from the eight members of the Raiders 2014 Draft Class.

Q: How big is it for you to learn how to take care of your body as an NFL player, especially somebody who plays your position?**

Mack: "You have to be ready. If you're not, you are going to get thrown around out there, so you have to take care of your body every day of the week. You have to think about hydration, stretching, different things like getting massages. Things that you have to take pride in and taking care of your body. I've learned that from all of the veteran guys that I've been around."

Q: Derek Carr talked about how helpful it was to be able to just focus on football this offseason and not have to focus on combines and the NFL Draft this offseason. Is that the case with you?

Mack: "Yeah, it's exciting. It's exciting knowing that you can just get to what you need to do instead of just running 40s [40-yard dash] all the time. You have guys you can race against and all those different things just to keep that competitive nature, but knowing that it's more important to turn that edge and try to sack the quarterback and focusing on that, it's exciting."

Q: Do you feel like this is your year and you have to step forward and take more control of the defense and make it your defense?

Mack: "You could sense that coming in. I could sense that from the coaches. They want me to be a guy that steps in. Jack [Del Rio] understands the type of guy I am. I told him I like to go out and use my actions to speak loudly. He understands that being a defensive LB guy. I am excited. I am ready to go out and play now for real."


Q: Have you talked to Curtis Lofton or Malcolm Smith and gotten any impressions about what they're going to bring to this team?**

Mack: "You can sense it from the guys upstairs. They told me about Curtis and how he is a vibrant guy and a leader and how he affects the defense with his tenacity and his motor. Like you said, Malcolm and all those guys, I haven't really spoken with him but from seeing their work and seeing how they play, it should be a good thing that they are on this defense."

Q: Did you get a chance to get away and take some time off after the season, or did you get right back at it?

Mack: "I can get away, but when I get away, I am still working. I can't help it. I think my dad did it to me. He told me that whenever you're not working, somebody is, so with that being said, I don't want anybody to outwork me."

Q: How do you see the playing and coaching experience of the coaches and even the new players translating?

Mack: "I see it translating very well. Just from the experience in the room now, you have guys that have been there, not saying that there are not already guys that have been there, but there is more of that and that's what you need on the team, the experience and the leadership of those people that have gone on to that level and have been there. It's going to be exciting to see."

Q: How do those that have been there translate that to those who haven't been?

Mack: "It's continuous work. You can sense it from [Justin] Tuck, being a guy that has won two championships. You can sense that it is hard work, but it takes team unity. Tuck, he kind of instills that more so on the defensive side of the ball. You can sense that he wants it to be more of a family unit type thing."

Q: How closely do you think you will follow the upcoming NFL Draft?

Mack: "I don't like to dibble in that too much. I know [General Manager] Reggie [McKenzie] is cooking up something. He doesn't tell anybody what's going on. We'll see."

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