Coming off a 33-13 drubbing by Cincinnati, the Raiders left many asking: Has anything changed in Oakland?
After a feel-good offseason that saw fans and media express hope over the team's young talent, none of it seemed to translate on the field.
"We feel like their pass rush is one of the best in the league," Harbaugh said, per the Bay Area News Group. "We saw one of the best in the league (in Denver) and we struggled and we're going to see one of the best in the league this week."
It's not crazy. Second-year linebacker Khalil Mack is a sneaky Defensive Player of the Year candidate and no-fail No. 1 "Making the Leap" candidate who blows up the run, causes havoc in the pocket and has already drawn comparisons to Lawrence Taylor. Said Raiders coach Jack Del Rio over the summer: "I think Khalil is way more physical" than Broncos pass rusher Von Miller.
Alongside Mack, defensive end Justin Tuck is aging but played well for Oakland in the opener next to nose tackle Dan Williams, a big-bodied force who can push the pocket from the inside. Don't forget that Oakland also added the enigmatic but promising Aldon Smith.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was sacked twice against the Broncos last Sunday and took a series of big hits from Denver's battering front seven. Oakland isn't anywhere close to the Broncos in terms of overall talent, but the Raiders certainly possess pieces up front.
That long-suffering fan base, though, needs to see it show up on the scoreboard for once.