ALAMEDA -- Khalil Mack was traded to Chicago nearly three weeks ago now, and the Raiders have moved beyond it. They’re focused solely on the present and future, trying to beat the Miami Dolphins after an 0-2 start.
Ripple effects of his departure, however, remain. Lack of a pass rush is the obvious one.
There’s another, more subtle change impacted the face of the franchise. Quarterback Derek Carr and Mack shared primary leadership roles in the locker room over the past few years. It’s a bit different now.
While the Raiders have defensive captains and veterans capable of guiding that unit, Carr clearly is the unquestioned leader among players. It’s a role Carr can handle -- his leadership qualities are unquestioned -- but the signal-caller admits that aspect of his job has expanded with Mack in a different uniform.
"I think so. People will look to you,” Carr said on this week’s Raiders Insider Podcast. “They look to you all the time to make sure you’re doing certain things and you’re the one saying something. Obviously, I could let Khalil do some of that sometimes. That kind of changed for me.”
The shock of seeing Mack as a Monster of the Midway has taken some getting used to, especially with him creating havoc on nationally televised prime-time games the last two weeks.
“It’s hard to watch him go out and strip-sack everybody,” Carr said. “He has done that so many times here, and it hurts your heart to see it, but at the same time, it doesn’t hurt anymore.
"I’m happy for him. If you’re a Raider fan, it’s hard to see him do that. But just be happy for the guy. He has strained his tail off to get to where he’s at. The fact he’s making plays for someone else, we don’t like it, but we can be happy for him because we all love him to death.”