Mack making impact for Raiders even without sacks

Khalil Mack has done just about everything the Oakland Raiders have asked of him his rookie season He has solidified the run defense with his ability to fight off blocks and get into the backfield, pressured quarterbacks consistently as a pass rusher and forced offenses to alter their game plans. The only thing lacking so far from Mack is something he was supposed to get frequently: a quarterback sack. Through seven games, Mack is still seeking his first sack despite being compared to pass rushing specialist Von Miller when he was drafted fifth overall in May. ”It’s something that’s kind of sitting on my mind,” Mack said. ”All my teammates talk about it. It will come soon enough but even then I’m working hard to get there.” Mack has come awfully close, especially in recent weeks. He has been credited with 15 quarterback hurries and hits the past three games, according to Pro Football Focus, and his 22 pressures for the season are the most for any player without a sack. The consistent pressure is bound to lead to sacks soon enough. ”They will come,” defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. ”Keep pressuring the heck out of them, making sure everybody knows who you are and where is 52 and that stuff Sen’Derrick Marks Black Jersey will happen. As long as he’s around the ball, we’re happy.” While Mack has lacked sacks, he has not lacked praise. Opposing quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Brian Hoyer singled him out after the past two games for his stellar play. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson called him a spectacular player who was playing like the defensive rookie of the year heading into Sunday’s game against the Seahawks. ”He jumps off the film,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ”Every one of our coaches, when they break up and start looking at the Raiders and taking seriously what they’re doing well, everybody comes back talking about him. He’s almost unblockable and he’s got a great motor. He’s fast, he’s tough, he’s instinctive. We think he’s an obvious factor.” Mack played down the wide-spread praise he has received in recent weeks, saying it means nothing until the Raiders (0-7) have more success on the field. ”It’s gratifying in a personal aspect but you want to go out and win the game,” he said. ”It can mean something once you stamp a win. But we’re still working on that win. All you see out there is hunger for a win.” Mack has been dominant against the run, where he is the biggest reason for a dramatic turnaround in recent weeks by the Raiders. Oakland has allowed just 2.9 yards per carry in October, second to Denver for the NFL lead. Mack is tied with Tampa Bay’s Lavonte David for the NFL lead with 8 1/2 tackles behind the line of scrimmage against the run, including 5 1/2 the past two weeks. ”He’s going to be measured in whether or not he sacks the quarterback, but I would just say […]

Ravens wary of Roethlisberger vs Steelers

The Baltimore Ravens won’t drastically alter their game plan Lavelle Hawkins Jersey Sunday night just because Ben Roethlisberger threw for 522 yards and six touchdowns last week. Harassing and containing Roethlisberger would have been a priority regardless of how the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback fared in a 51-34 rout of Indianapolis. ”We knew before they even played that game that we were going to have to be on point in the secondary,” Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb said Wednesday. Then, referring to Roethlisberger by his jersey number, Webb added, ”It’s always been: Stop 7. If we can stop 7, we can win the game.” That’s what the Ravens did in a 26-6 victory over Pittsburgh last month. Roethlisberger was sacked twice, threw an interception and had only 217 yards passing in the lopsided defeat. ”It’s how you execute,” Baltimore safety Matt Elam said. ”We executed well in that first game, and that’s how we held them to no touchdowns.” In the rematch, the Ravens (5-3) will be without cornerback Jimmy Smith, who sprained his left foot Sunday in a 27-24 loss to Cincinnati. ”Somebody’s got to step up. That’s how we do it around here,” Webb said. ”If one man goes down, the next man has be up and ready to play. We have the talent in the room.” Dominque Franks and Chykie Brown will see extended time in place of Smith, whose run of 24 straight starts will end. ”We’ve got some great corners that can come in and do things while Jimmy’s out,” Elam said. ”He might not be Jimmy Smith, the great player that he is, but we’ve got guys who can come in and compete.” The key to stopping Roethlisberger transcends merely blanketing his receivers. Some quarterbacks use their agility and quickness to elude oncoming linemen; Big Ben uses his 6-foot-5, 241-pound frame to keep his footing after being hit. ”Every quarterback is unique, and Ben is very unique,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. ”He’s big, very strong, hard to bring down. Nobody does the extended play thing better than Ben. They built their offense around that for years.” That makes linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs, as well as everyone on the line, just as important to the pass defense as Elam and Webb. ”It’s going to be all 11 guys, especially with Ben because he’s great at making plays when the pocket breaks down,” Ravens rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley said. Webb said, ”You’ve got to put pressure on him, and you’ve got to tackle him when you get the chance. He can break any tackle.” Roethlisberger, meanwhile, hopes his performance last week might be the start of something big for Pittsburgh’s passing game. ”Well, I hope so,” he said. ”There are things that we can take and learn from. We know there’s going to be challenges this week with a great defense coming in here in Baltimore and the rivalry and prime time. It’s not going to be easy. I’ve said I don’t care what […]

Sexton has been in the jersey

Because little Curry Sexton always Rod Streater Womens Jersey knew all the Kansas State players. Knew their jersey numbers. Knew their stats. “He knew everything about the game,” said his father, Ted Sexton, who began taking his son to K-State games as a child. “Always soaked it all in.” Once the smartest kid in Section 14, Curry Sexton is now the smartest player on the Bill Snyder Family Stadium field. At 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, the senior isn’t the biggest. And with a time of 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash, he certainly isn’t the fastest. But driven by his intelligence and knack for getting open at opportune moments, Sexton has filled a major role at slot receiver for the Wildcats, who remain in the thick of the Big 12 title and College Football Playoff races. “His best asset is his knowledge,” said Tyler Lockett, Sexton’s cohort at receiver. “He knows how to get open, and every time we call on him to make a big play, he makes it.” With 40 receptions and 450 receiving yards, Sexton has surfaced as a much-needed secondary receiving target alongside Lockett for quarterback Jake Waters, who is Sexton’s roommate. Thanks in part to Sexton’s emergence, K-State ranks 23rd nationally in scoring, despite playing at a slower pace than most Big 12 offenses. “I’m not flashy. I’m not big. Nothing about me really sticks out,” Sexton said. “But I pride myself on being reliable and being in the right place.” Sexton has been in the right place all season. But before that, he had to decide if K-State was the right place for him. Sexton grew up on a wheat, soybean and alfalfa farm in Abilene, Kansas, a 45-minute drive from Manhattan. His capacity for football knowledge at an Jeff King Womens Jersey early age wowed everyone, including John Dorsey, his uncle who is the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. When Sexton was 10, Dorsey was at the Sexton farm helping with the annual harvest and casually mentioned a Florida State player he was considering drafting. “Curry immediately rattled off all his statistics, and John was like, ‘My gosh, Curry knows more about this kid than I do, and this is my job,’” Ted Sexton recalled. That acumen didn’t stop with football. Curry excelled in the classroom as well. His grades, combined with his savvy on the field, drew the interest of the Ivy League. The boy from Abilene was accepted into Harvard, Columbia and Princeton, which all offered the chance to play football, too. “We were kind of sold on Harvard,” Ted said. “They were telling him, ‘Curry, come here, get your degree from here and you can go anywhere in the world — and you won’t have to ask how much they’re paying, you’ll tell them what you’re going to make.’” But a Harvard education wasn’t really what Sexton coveted. He wanted to be a coach, or possibly even follow in his uncle’s footsteps with scouting or football […]

Rams make multiple moves to fill holes

The often-invoked cliche ”next man up” is really getting put to the test for the sliding, injury-plagued St. Louis Rams. They have so many holes to fill that safety Mark Barron, acquired from Tampa Bay on Tuesday, could play this week at San Francisco. ”I wouldn’t rule it out whatsoever,” coach Jeff Fisher said Wednesday after a walkthrough to allow bodies to heal instead of the standard practice. ”We’ll see how quickly things go this week.” The Rams (2-5) are coming off a dispiriting 34-7 loss to the Chiefs, with six players sidelined during the game. Moving forward, Fisher said he wouldn’t be using injuries as an excuse. ”We’re going to bounce back this week,” the coach said. We’ll have some people come back as the week goes on.” So far, Barron said it’s ”been a whirlwind, most definitely,” and was unaware he’d been on the trading block at Tampa Bay. ”I had no idea that any of it was going on,” Barron said. ”But I am excited about the situation.” Barron entered the field midway through the one-hour walkthrough, which was followed by a private session on the indoor field. Fisher said there are 13 players on the injury report, an estimated list given everything was slowed down, and he’s trying to conserve bodies. ”I felt like we needed to back down,” Fisher said. ”Our focus is having them ready on Sunday.” Fisher said it was a bit of a surprise Ziggy Hood Medium Jersey that Barron, a first-round pick in 2012, was available. He didn’t say how Barron would be used right away. ”Whatever the reasons are down there, we had an opportunity to take advantage of getting a good player,” Fisher said. ”I spoke with him last night after we put the deal together and obviously he was surprised and shocked, but excited about a new start.” The Rams are more aggressive defensively than Tampa Bay, and said sitting back in Cover 2 ”honestly didn’t play to my strengths.” ”Yeah, it is passive,” Barron said. ”A lot of times I had to sit back and not be as aggressive as I wanted to in that system. I feel like I’m an athletic guy, I can do whatever I’m asked to do.” Both Rams safeties, T.J. McDonald and Rodney McLeod, are healthy. ”Whenever and wherever he plays, I can’t answer that right now,” Fisher said. ”But we got a good player.” The Rams have plenty of questions on offense, too. ”We’ll see who recovers and who doesn’t,” quarterback Austin Davis said. ”We’ll be ready to go by Sunday. We don’t have to be ready today.” Quarterback Case Keenum, released a day earlier, was re-signed to the practice squad. ”Just took the day off,” Keenum said, joking. They added depth at wide receiver by signing Damian Williams and elevated linebacker Korey Toomer and offensive lineman Brandon Washington to the active roster. Wide receiver Emory Blake, tight end Justice Cunningham and offensive linemen Travis Bond and Steven Baker were […]

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