Defensive End Khalil Mack
Oakland Raiders Defensive end Khalil Mack held his weekly press conference Thursday afternoon at the team's Napa Valley Training Complex.
During his time at the podium, Mack spoke about his excitement for the upcoming season, as well as the addition of linebacker Bruce Irvin.
Here are the highlights from his time behind the microphone.
Mack is excited about the prospects of the 2016 season, but knows there's a lot of work still to be done.
"I'm very excited. I'm very excited. Ready to grind and work and that's what we've been doing. Obviously we've been working against a great offense as well. We have great pieces over there. We're just looking forward to getting better every day."
He also didn't mince words; he believes the Raiders are a playoff-caliber team.
"That's always the goal. The goal is to get to the playoffs and win and be productive. That's what this team is going to do and I feel it."
Mack shared his thoughts on versatile linebacker Bruce Irvin.
"Man, big Bruce [Irvin], he's a special player. Didn't get to see too much of what he could do in Seattle as a rusher. That's what his role [here] is going to be, to get after the quarterback. Having him on the other side, it makes me smile. Having a guy like that, not only as a player but as a person. I'm looking forward to doing some great things with 'B-Dog.'"
The addition of Irvin will also hopefully create more one-on-one matchups for No. 52.
"I feel like it's going to be one of those things where you're going to have to even it up and play man up, one-on-one. One-on-one across the board or either chip on both sides because he's a special player. You really didn't get to see too much of what he can do in Seattle. So just having him going full mode over here is going to benefit us as a defense in a tremendous way."
Going up against the Raiders' offensive line in practice only makes Mack and the rest of the defense that much better.
"It's very helpful having a guy like Donald Penn and a guy like Menelik Watson on that side of the ball because they let you know what you beat them with and we let them know what they got us with. It's kind of one of those things that, especially with having the experience that I've had and Bruce had and D.P., 11 years, almost. He knows what we did to beat him, so having that information it only helps us to use it against other guys."
He has also seen linebacker Ben Heeney become much more comfortable in his second season in Silver and Black.
"He's a lot more comfortable. You can see the confidence in him. He has control of the huddle. He goes out and he does his job and that's what you want from your Mike linebacker. You want a smart guy. Ben is a smart guy. He controls the huddle, controls the defense and everybody is listening to what he has going on with calls even."