ALAMEDA -- Much has been made of Khalil Mack’s sustained success despite season-ending injury to Justin Tuck and Aldon Smith’s yearlong suspension.
His numbers have been steady, now with 45 tackles, 13 for losses, seven sacks and a forced fumble. The stat sheet’s a marvel, but it’s not what impresses Tuck most.
The veteran defensive end is a mentor to Mack, and has seen little brother take on more leadership responsibility than expected of a second-year player.
Tuck said he’s proud of how Mack has become more of a leader on the field, something necessary after No. 91 was placed on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle. That’s what the Raiders hoped to see from a player who will be a fixture in the front seven, someone mature, contentious and productive at the same time.
“More important than just the stats, I can tell how he’s become more of a vocal leader,” Tuck said. “He has kind of taken charge on that sideline, the kind of role where I was before I got hurt. That’s also true in the meeting room with how he’s asking questions and being vocal about what’s expected of himself and everybody around him on that defense.”