The Oakland Raiders enter the 2017 season with much promise, headlined by their two captains, Derek Carr and Khalil Mack. While Carr holds down the offensive end, Mack is steadily progressing towards becoming the most dominant defensive presence in the NFL.
Opposing coaches don’t have fun game planning against the two-time Pro Bowler, with an unmatched combination of speed and power. Whether from the linebacker position or at defensive end, Mack proved countless times that he can single handedly seal a victory for the Raiders.
Mack earned the Defensive Player of the Year Award at the conclusion of the season, ending a campaign that saw multiple game-ending plays for the defense. Heading into the offseason, the 26-year-old held onto his no-nonsense attitude, preparing for the Raiders most optimistic season since 2002.
The two-time All-Pro player joined Derek Carr and Rodney Hudson with some introductory press conferences on Monday, touching on the offseason and the relocation. When asked about how the Defensive Player of the Year Award impacted his offseason, Mack stated that it made him hungrier to succeed, via Jimmy Durkin of the Bay Area News Group:
“That was the motivation I needed this offseason. Just like you said, it only heightened everything, from preparation, to workout, just knowing everything you need to get better at. Even though you had that success, it only made me more hungry.”
Mack has always come off as a professional, attempting to perfect his craft in all areas of the game. During the 2016 season, he posted 11 sacks, 54 tackles (19 assisted), five forced fumbles, three passes defender and a pick-six.
The Florida native now enters his fourth season in the NFL, headlined as one of the premiere defensive talents. His relentless attitude is evident off the field just as much as on the field, with a demeanor that involves relatively few days off.
Last offseason, Mack was quoted as saying he took only one day off, to the dismay of the press. Mack was again asked about his events during their time off before the official offseason program begins, stating he received an additional day thanks to his mother:
“I squeezed two days in, man I squeezed in two. My mom made me. It was a cool experience, but back to work and focused and ready for this offseason.”
During the presser, Mack stated that the Defensive Player of the Year Award was special to his family, coaches and teammates that pushed him to get to this place. The testament to his hard work is truly an inspiration, as he enters a 2017 campaign looking to exceed his lofty goals.