Scheming against Joey Bosa or Khalil Mack individually is already a tough task.
Las Vegas head coach Josh McDaniels is the first to craft a game plan that has to neutralize both at the same time.
When the Raiders open the season against the Chargers on Sunday, their offense will be the first to see Los Angeles’ new-look defense featuring the two famed edge rushers. That would present a significant challenge at any point in the season. But not having any film of the two playing together creates a unique challenge for McDaniels and Las Vegas’ offensive staff.
“It’s not easy,” McDaniels said in his Tuesday press conference. “They’re two incredible football players. And, again, I could say that about a lot of guys on their team. … I’ve competed against both of them multiple times — and thankfully, never on the same field at the same time. So you could kind of put maybe more attention to one than the other, if you will.
“You’ve got to do a good job. There’s no shortcuts around this one. You know? You’ve got to do a good job of using your techniques and playing with good fundamentals. We have to do a good job of trying to get the ball out on time, when we’re supposed to. And you pick your spots when you’re going to try to do something and hold the ball a little longer, what have you, based on the play you’re trying to accomplish.”
In other words, pass protection against those two edge rushers doesn’t just fall on the offensive tackles. Receivers have to run sharp routes and quarterback Derek Carr has to deliver timely, accurate passes.
“This is a big challenge,” McDaniels said. “They present a lot of issues offensively on their own, and so seeing them on the same field, obviously, will be difficult. But we’re hard at work trying to figure out how to create some offense against their whole group. But they’ll definitely be a challenge.”
Bosa recorded 10.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, 20 QB hits, and seven forced fumbles last year. Mack’s season was cut short after just seven games due to a foot injury. But he still had 6.0 sacks, six tackles for loss, and seven QB hits in 2021.