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Malcolm Koonce's goals for himself go beyond the stat sheet

A new defensive scheme and coaching staff have not been an issue for Malcolm Koonce. For the second-year rush edge rusher out of Buffalo, the game he loves still hasn't changed.

"It's the same thing, it's football," Koonce said Thursday morning. "[They're] going to demand the same thing from me that I demanded from myself last year – being better in every category."

The 2021 third-round pick has no set expectations for himself as he enters his second season. Koonce enjoyed some early success, despite seeing limited playing time as a rookie. When his number was called last season, he got to the quarterback twice.

But when it comes to his goals as a football player, he doesn't revolve it around "x-amount of sacks or this amount of tackles for loss."

"My goal every day, every game I play, is to be able to leave the day satisfied of what I did," said Koonce "It was just go out, play how I know I can play and walk away being comfortable, knowing that I played my best."

The Raiders acquired another edge rusher this offseason who has a vast amount of knowledge concerning the game. All-Pro edge rusher Chandler Jones has become good friends and a mentor to Koonce, as the two are New York natives.

"When I found out Malcolm was from New York, I lit up because I was a young player from New York," Jones told local media during Training Camp. "And coming from New York and going into the NFL, it's a very small percentile. And I definitely do see myself – just coming from New York, and there's not a lot of New York football players, especially these days. So, I definitely give him a pat on the back for coming from New York and still being in the NFL because that's very rare.

"Malcolm is a great friend of mine. I'm excited for him and his development."

Koonce described feeling relaxed and comfortable around Jones, with the two occasionally joking about things that remind them of home. The bond they have developed off the field has translated onto the field through Training Camp practices.

"To me, he's been in the league for what feels like forever," Koonce said of the 11-year vet. "It's cool to pick his brain with little things that I see. Little things that I don't notice, but he says, 'No, you just tweak this a little bit, it'll work way better than it did.' Stuff like that happens all the time."

When asked about the biggest improvement or adjustment he's made this offseason, Koonce said its revolved around becoming more of a student of the game. He's been studying the traits and habits of offensive linemen and "their plan is to block against the defensive line."

The extra work and his day-by-day approach will hopefully help take Koonce's game to the next level this season, as he's seen a lot of snaps in Patrick Graham's new defense in camp. The edge rusher had a pass deflection and special teams tackle in the Raiders' first preseason game against the Jaguars, and could see significant playing time again this Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

View the best photos from Raiders 2022 Training Camp practice before their upcoming preseason home game against the Minnesota Vikings.

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