Just win, baby? Raiders DE Khalil Mack rewrites Al Davis slogan: `Just win now’
Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack says being named NFL’s defensive player of the year has heightened his focus.
ALAMEDA — Just win, baby?
With apologies to the late Al Davis, Khalil Mack clearly stated the revised mission statement Monday for the 2017 Raiders:
“Just win now,” Mack said as the Raiders kicked off their offseason program. “That’s what it comes down to. That’s all we want to do. Because we don’t know what’s going t happen down the line. This team we have now, we want to focus on winning now.”
With a healthy media contingent in tow, including print and television reporters from Las Vegas, the Raiders trotted out Mack, quarterback Derek Carr and center Rodney Hudson to address an active offseason that included the news of the club’s relocation and other issues.
Mack, upon being named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was so self-satisfied with the honor that he doubled the amount of time off this off-season.
“I squeezed in two (days) this year,” Mack said. “My mom made me.”
In other words, it doesn’t appear Mack will allow stardom to go to his head.
“That was the motivation I needed,” Mack said. “It only heightened everything from preparation, to workout, to just knowing everything you can get better at, even though you did have that success. It made me more hungry.”
As for Las Vegas, Mack conceded there is an initial awkwardness with the Raiders’ lame duck status, although he expects the feeling won’t last long.
“It just feels weird right now,” Mack said. “But I feel once we get in that stadium and get around the fans — they know we don’t have control over those things. It comes down to us coming to work and doing our job and doing whatever we can, whatever it takes to win.”
While Carr waxed poetic about his conflicted feelings regarding the Raiders move on social media following the announcement, and then talked about it again on Monday, Mack was willing to let the Raiders’ team leader take the lead.
“My thoughts were the same as Derek’s,” Mack said. “I just retweeted his. It was easy for me having him say those words. The words that he said, just hit spot on for me. I used his tweet and I’m going to use those again today.”
Other topics addressed by Mack Monday:
— The potential acquisition of running back Marshawn Lynch, who had 21 rushes for 67 yards in the only game Mack was an opponent:
“Marshawn, man, one of the great running backs I’ve played against in my short career . . . it would be a great, great, great, great treat to have him on this side, the dark side. You can’t really control what’s going to happen but we look forward to it if it happens.”
Asked about Lynch’s running style, Mack said “I think he’s the most physical guy I’ve played against. He ran power right at me, and I remember that play.”
— Mack can be controlled by the Raiders through next season by invoking a fifth-year option, leaving general manager Reggie McKenzie to work on making sure a Carr deal gets done before he reaches free agency in 2018.
That being the case, Mack didn’t sound nearly as concerned about his contract status as Carr, who conceded he is watching the process closely.
“That stuff will take care of itself,” Mack said. “You have agents and all those people to worry about that stuff for you . . . the focus comes down to winning ballgames and grinding with your teammates and your brothers because you’ve got to approach this season like it’s your last.”