Linebacker Bruce Irvin
Bruce Irvin likes getting after the quarterback.
It's one of the main reasons he elected to sign with the Oakland Raiders in March, and the versatile linebacker believes it's one of the best aspects of his game.
Although Irvin and defensive end Khalil Mack have only been together a few months, the All-Pro edge rusher – and other member of the "Slash Brothers" – knows that Irvin's addition will pay big dividends for the Raiders' defense in 2016, particularly now that the former Seattle Seahawk will be put in a position to thrive.
"Big Bruce, man; he's a special player," said Mack. "You didn't get to see too much of what he could do up in Seattle as a rusher. That's what his role is going to be, to get after the quarterback. Having him on the other side, it makes me smile, to have a guy like that, not only the player, but the person. I'm looking forward to doing some great things with him."
Although he's just 28 years old, Irvin is three years Mack's senior, and in their brief time together, the pair has really hit it off, both on and off the field.
"That's my dog," Mack said. "That's my big brother. He showed me a lot of things and [I'm] just learning from him, on and off the field. It's been a great experience so far, and I'm looking forward to dominating. That's really both our mindsets; that's one of the things that brought us close so quickly."
Mack has been quick to shower praise on Irvin, and rightfully so, because the addition of another dynamic edge rusher will also hopefully prove to be beneficial for No. 52 as he enters his third season in Silver and Black.
With Irvin now in the mix, opposing offenses will no longer be able to double, or even triple-team, Mack along the line, and as a result, the powerful edge rusher will likely find himself in more one-on-one matchups.
"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, across the board," Mack explained. "[Irvin] is a special player, and you really didn't get to see too much of what he can do in Seattle, and so having him just going forward more over here, that's going to benefit us as a defense in a tremendous way."
-There was a noticeable absence at practice Thursday afternoon as rookie safety Karl Joseph did not hit the field with the rest of his teammates. In addition to Joseph, cornerback SaQwan Edwards, running back Taiwan Jones, defensive tackle Leon Orr, and tight end Colton Underwood also didn't participate in the day's work. Tight end Clive Walford also participated briefly, but also ended the day as a spectator.
-During Thursday's practice there was a portion of practice spent primarily on one-on-one blocking, and during that time, running back Latavius Murray made an impressive stand against linebacker Malcolm Smith, not allowing him to gain any ground and keeping him safely away from the quarterback.
-Rookie running back DeAndré Washington made an impression during Thursday's practice, taking a routine handoff from quarterback Matt McGloin, spinning away from pursuit then turning upfield and rushing through the line for a big gain.
-Washington wasn't the only rookie to get involved in the fun as quarterback Connor Cook threw an impressive pass right on the money to wide receiver Johnny Holton during one of the team's seven-on-seven sessions.
-Cornerback DJ Hayden continued his quality showing at Training Camp 2016 Thursday by not only providing sticky coverage throughout the day, but also blocking a field goal on special teams. Hayden has really looked good through the first week or so of camp and he'll be a player to keep an eye on when the team opens their preseason slate of games against the Arizona Cardinals Aug. 12.
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