Inside the NFL  


Khalil Mack's dominance, Big Ben's release and an L.A. update


The following three items are excerpted from the Week 15 edition of Albert Breer's exclusive Inside the NFL Notebook:

1) Khalil Mack's five-sack breakout in the Raiders' win over the Broncos on Sunday may have been aided by the Denver offensive line, but the guy's been a nightmare for opponents to deal with for the balance of his sophomore season in the NFL. Here's how one offensive coordinator for a team that has faced Oakland describes it: "He has great burst -- and his lower center of gravity makes him a difficult aiming point for all these big tackles. He's very athletic." How do you stop him? At this point, according to this coordinator, the best way is to make sure you have good "body presence" (an extra guy waiting) on him, chip him when you can, and get the ball out quickly.

2) Ben Roethlisberger's growth as a quarterback into his 30s has been evident, and here's one statistic (per one team's research) that illustrates that. His snap-to-throw average of 2.45 seconds is tied for fifth in the NFL, trailing only Peyton Manning (2.31), Tom Brady (2.36), Philip Rivers (2.39) and Andy Dalton (2.41). That shows that while Roethlisberger still has the ability to improvise, he's more decisive and sees things quicker than he ever has. One more thing on that list: It's interesting to note that Russell Wilson's second-to-last (2.99), ahead of only Tyrod Taylor (3.16).

3) There was back and forth this week on whether the NFL will kick $100 million into St. Louis' stadium effort, but the idea itself is rife with problems. First, it's fair to ask whether or not Oakland and San Diego would be afforded similar help. Second, there's the question of whether it would get through a three-quarters vote of owners. Third, there's the question of whether Rams owner Stan Kroenke would accept the help. The bottom line is that Kroenke's goal in securing a new stadium is to change the economics of the franchise, and, per club sources, Kroenke sees St. Louis' current deal as falling far short of doing that, viewing the deal as substantially worse than the one the Vikings got in Minneapolis. All that would set up an interesting circumstance if the Rams are denied entry to Los Angeles, prompting Kroenke to look at all options in and out of St. Louis. The next step will be the three clubs submitting relocation applications, with the window to do so opening Jan. 4. The hope of all parties was that, by now, the league would have found an elegant solution and would be in the final stages of brokering a deal. No one thought this would come to a vote that didn't have a predetermined result. But here we are: The owners don't have any idea which way this will go with less than a month until the Jan. 12-13 meeting.

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer.



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