The Oakland Raiders defense has struggled a bit so far in 2016, but they have been opportunistic coming up with turnovers and sacks at the right times which has led to a 4-1 record, the best start for the Raiders since 2002.
While heading into the season many viewed Khalil Mack as the Raiders best pass rusher as he was named an All-Pro at two different positions last year, Mack has just one sack on the season as he has been double teamed on almost every passing play.
With Mack struggling to create a pass rush, defensive tackle Stacy McGee has picked up the slack. In three seasons with the Raiders before this one McGee had just 0.5 sacks, which came in 2013, and no forced fumbles.
But in the first five games of this season McGee leads the team with 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. According to Jimmy Durkin of The Mercury News, McGee worked hard in the weight room this past offseason and credits his success to that:
“On the field and in the weight room, I can definitely tell the difference of being able to lift more weights and move people around a lot better,” McGee.
Raiders first year head coach Jack Del Rio complimented his defensive tackle after Sunday’s win over the San Diego Chargers in which he had 1.5 sacks:
“Stacy has done some good things for us,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s flashed some rushes and been really close on a couple this year, so it was nice to see him finish on the two.”
McGee had just nine career starts going into this season, but has remained healthy and started all five of the team’s games so far.
Oakland hosts the division rival Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. In the Chiefs first four games their offensive line has allowed quarterback Alex Smith to be sacked 13 times, which is sixth worst in the league despite the Chiefs playing one less game than most teams as they will be coming off their bye week.