Khalil Mack

USA Today

Khalil Mack Is Dominant In Bears Debut

Gruden didn’t want him.

September 10, 2018 - 10:37 am

If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t go Aaron Rodgers, the number one topic today is Jon Gruden. And not because the Raiders are opening their season tonight against the Rams. 

It wasn’t good for Jon Gruden to be trending on Twitter last night when his team wasn’t playing. But after the world saw what Khalil Mack can do, Gruden better get used to it.

Because Khalil Mack is pretty good at the game of football. Like this play with three minutes left in the first half.

Jams the receiver, dismisses the tackle, strips the quarterback, recovers the fumble. Actually, he didn’t strip DeShone Kizer, he just took the ball away from him. Like a man taking candy from a child. And he did it in a matter of seconds. He’s a blur. A 6’3, 250 pound blur that you cannot block and you cannot stop. 

And then with less than a minute to go in the first half, he chased that with this.

Nobody will ever be Lawrence Taylor ever again. But that was damn close. That was some LT stuff. That was Bo Jackson Tecmo Bowl stuff, except on defense. When was the last time you saw a defensive player dominate a half the way Khalil Mack did. 

And keep in mind, he missed training camp. And is on a new team. You’re supposed to need a few weeks to get into shape, get comfortable with the scheme, and then start having an impact. He needed a few minutes. TO DOMINATE LIKE HE HAS NEVER DOMINATED BEFORE; HELL, WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW ANY DEFENSIVE PLAYER DOMINATE A HALF LIKE THAT?!?

Again: he misses camp, gets traded, joins a new team and in the first half, becomes the first player in league history since they started recording sacks to have a sack, an interception, a touchdown, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in one half. That’s a season for most guys and Mack did it in thirty minutes.

And then dropped this legendary quote afterwards: “Cool game but you got to finish.”

And he did it on a limited number of snaps. Because he’s not all the way back. He did all of that and he’s not at 100 percent. 

And Jon Gruden didn’t want him. 

Get used to hearing that phrase. Just like you can get used to seeing Khalil Mack and Jon Gruden trending on twitter. Because every time Mack gets a sack, Gruden takes a hit as well. When Mack takes down Kirk Cousins or Matthew Stafford, Gruden’s IS THE GUY GOING INTO PROTOCOL.   

Look, I know you can find a way to defend the Raiders trading Mack. If you genuinely do not believe in paying an elite defensive player what he’s worth and would rather try to win with depth on defense, I can see that argument. But if Mack keeps playing like that, you’re going to lose that argument.

What I’m saying is Jon Gruden better go 16-0 this year and win every game by double-digits or else he’s going to be reminded about this deal every single week. Because as nice as those two first rounder’s are, they’re just picks right now. Future draft picks don’t play on Sundays in 2018. Khalil Mack does. And if he keeps destroying the league the way he did last night, Jon Gruden is going to wear that trade for as long as he’s in Oakland. And EVEN LONGER. 

Long after Gruden retires, strangers will stop him on the street and say, hey, you're Jon Gruden. You're the guy who traded Khalil Mack. Nice JOB, CHUCK.

Maybe the Raiders thought that trading Mack halfway across the country and to the other conference would make it go away, and if they did, they were wrong. Because Khalil Mack isn’t going away. Yes, he’s a problem for NFC offenses, but he’s still a problem for the Raiders. And it’s a problem they created when they didn’t have to. 

Because every time Khalil Mack does something, you’ll hear these four words: Gruden didn’t want him. And it’s true. Gruden didn’t want him.