The Las Vegas Raiders defense has been â€œbad” three weeks into the 2022 season. But it hasn’t been all their fault. The offense hasn’t given them much help and has been equally inconsistent.Â
The Raiders’ defense has had its moments though. They shut down the Los Angeles Chargers offense in the second half during Week 1. They also contained the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of their Week 3 matchup. Lastly, they shut out the Tennessee Titans’ offense late in the game which gave Las Vegas a chance to nearly pull it off last week.Â
Having said that, they must put it all together in their Week 4 matchup against the Denver Broncos. Russell Wilson is coming into town; they can’t let him get into a groove. With that in mind, here are three X-factors on defense that will need to do their job to help shut down Wilson.
No. 3 Las Vegas Raiders X-Factor vs. the Broncos: Maxx Crosby
Let’s keep it real, defensive end Maxx Crosby has been the best Las Vegas Raider defender through three weeks. He’s the only one consistently winning his one-on-one matchups and is the only person on this team with a sack.
If Crosby can’t get pressure against Wilson, the Broncos’ QB will have a field day. That’s why he’ll need to stay disciplined whenever Wilson scrambles and use his relentlessness to chase him down. It seems like we are asking a lot out of Crosby, which we are, but that is only because he is the best defender on this team and one of the few that has shown up in every game, thus far.Â
People only see Crosby as a pass rusher, but his ability to defend the run has become vastly underrated. This is going to be needed this week, because the Broncos have two good running backs, and will attempt to get them going early.Â
The Broncos’ offensive tackles, Garett Bolles and Billy Turner, better be ready for the smoke. Because Crosby is going to give it his all during every single snap that he is on the field for.
No. 2 Raiders X-Factor vs. the Broncos: Denzel PerrymanÂ
Defensive captain and middle linebacker Denzel Perryman is set to play for the first time since the season opener. Oh, how have the Las Vegas Raiders missed Perryman.
Perryman brings run-stopping ability and tackling, two things the Raiders struggled with last week. Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon are two backs who are hard to bring down. Perryman’s secure tackling ability, accompanied by his ability to fight through tackles is going to be vital for Las Vegas, as they attempt to tame the Broncos’ run game.Â
Perryman being back takes responsibility from Divine Deablo. The second-year linebacker has been struggling recently because he was being asked to make up for Perryman’s presence. Now that Perryman is back, the linebacker group can be more balanced.Â
No. 1 Raiders X-Factor vs. the Broncos: Rock Ya-Sin
Raiders’ cornerbacks Nate Hobbs and Rock Ya-Sin have been doing a good job of limiting wide receivers. But Hobbs sustained a concussion during Week 3 and his status is up in the air for this week. This means that Ya-Sin is slated to be the main coverage guy for star wide receiver Courtland Sutton.
This will be a tall task for Ya-Sin, literally and figuratively. Sutton, who stands at 6’4” is the fifth leading receiver in the league. As Wilson’s favorite target and the lone bright spot on their offense, Sutton will see a lot of targets his way.
Ya-Sin’s ability to cover Sutton will determine a lot for both teams. The Broncos are currently relying on Sutton during any big situation. If Ya-Sin can shut him out or limit him, then the Broncos’ offense will have trouble moving the ball.
*Top Photo: Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby at Allegiant Stadium (Benjamin Hagar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)