With training camp underway for the Las Vegas Raiders, today’s headlines were dominated by something entirely different.
So, Madden (the game, obviously) did this…
Where on Earth is Raiders DE Maxx Crosby?
How Crosby is missing here is truly astounding. Looking at the list, there are several things that are outright indefensible. Last season, he was a Pro Bowler, a second-team All-Pro, and he led league in pressures.
Way Too Much Value on Name Brands
Von Miller being in the top five feels like a lifetime achievement award. You could maybe make a case for him for the top ten, as he is still talented. Chandler Jones fits this bill as well, although his ranking is much more appropriate. However, nobody can watch a tape of those two and Crosby from last year and come to the conclusion that the latter is the worst of the three.
Emphasis on Volume Stats
Unsurprisingly, EA Sports puts a huge emphasis on “normie” stats like sacks. Most of their top ten is made up of guys who were among the top edge defenders in sacks. Sacks are an important part of being a productive defender, but they are not the be all and end all. You can be just as, if not more, disruptive, when constantly getting pressure but only getting home at an average rate rather than getting home frequently but at a low-pressure rate. Also, being stout against the run is important but undervalued. At some point, we as a society conflated the edge defender with the edge rusher, as if all they do is rush the quarterback. This is obviously wrong, and if it had been thought about more, it might have helped Crosby’s and others’ cases.
Crosby Wasn’t the Only Snub
Another player that falls into Crosby’s boat is Cincinnati’s Trey Hendrickson. Hendrickson has had one of the best seasons of any edge defender not named T.J. Watt (who was also robbed by not being number one). Unlike Crosby, Hendrickson had great sack numbers, but he was an even less well-known name than the Raiders defensive end. Both were deserving of more respect than the folks at Madden gave them.
Bottom Line For The Raiders’ Star
Is Maxx Crosby a top ten edge defender in this league? Of course, but do Madden’s ratings matter? Absolutely not. They have yet to make a better game than NFL 2K5. Should Crosby still use this bulletin board material as an excuse to wreck the league in 2022? You betcha.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images