2020 was a disappointing year for a lot of Las Vegas Raiders players, and defensive end Maxx Crosby’s stat line was not immune to this. Looking at his performance, it looked like he had a sophomore slump last season. However, his film showed the impact he had on the field last season.
At this point of Maxx Crosby‘s career, it’s fair to wonder if he can play on all three downs or he’s better suited to be a rotational piece. In his rookie season, his numbers rivaled those of San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa. Nevertheless, his production took a dip in his second campaign. On the other hand, statistics can be deceiving and every now and then, a player’s impact doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. This was the case for Crosby in 2020.
What do the Raiders have in Maxx Crosby?
Maxx Crosby found his way back into the offense’s backfield more often than not. Especially with an updated and deeper move arsenal.
#Raiders DE Maxx Crosby saved his best game of season for the last. Unbelievable effort on tape. Broke out the spin move on several occasions to generate pressure. Beats the TE with reverse spin, locates ball, beats another block to get QB hit.
— Ramble Digital Mediaâ„¢ (@RambleDMedia) January 11, 2021
This move was a staple in Crosby’s repertoire last year. He spent a lot of the 2019 off-season perfecting and honing in his pass rush arsenal. This spin move in particular showed the improved lateral quickness he had last season. The moves he displayed in 2019 got better last season.
Where Crosby still hurts is in the â€œstunt” move department. This is something new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, likes to incorporate into his scheme often. A stunt move is when a defensive lineman shows a rush in one direction but suddenly stops and goes back the other way switching lanes with the player to his left or right. These are often great ways to throw off the offensive line and get a free rush at the quarterback.
When Crosby ran these during the 2020 season, he lacked the explosiveness to take advantage of any gaps they may have created in the offensive line. However, in one-on-one situations, he still showed to be as ever dominant.
Maxx Crosby uses a Speed / Swipe to turn the corner. Carl Nassib gets in to force Ryan to just throw the ball away. Nice to see Marinelli allowing the DEs to rush one on one so far today. #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/4P8W1s32SK
— Chris Reed (@ChrisReed_NFL) November 29, 2020
This is a perfect example of Crosby’s improvement in 2020. As Chris Reed points out, this is often referred to as a speed or swipe move. Swatting away the lineman’s hands before he can gain the leverage then bending around him to continue his pursuit on the quarterback is a staple of many elite pass rushers in the league. Smart players realize they can’t beat everyone with pure strength alone.
There’s time for Maxx Crosby to work on his craft
Sometimes you have to simply outmaneuver your would-be blocker to win the battle. This video also shows where Crosby will need to improve going into 2021. After winning the battle, he has a clear shot at Matt Ryan for the sack. However, he fails to successfully wrap him up and his aggressiveness comes back to haunt him. A relentless motor is a major upside for him. Learning when and how to reign in the aggression will help him see more overall success.
Maxx Crosby most likely isn’t going anywhere any time soon. He and Clelin Ferrell appear to the bookends for the Raiders’ defensive line for the foreseeable future. He may have a higher upside than Ferrell but this doesn’t mean the tandem can’t work.
When looking at what it takes to be an every-down player, Crosby checks off all but a couple of boxes right now. Fortunately for him, those abilities are easily gained through hard work and persistence, two traits very evident in Crosby’s makeup.
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