It really is a sight to behold, but Las Vegas Raiders pass rusher Maxx Crosby is singlehandedly carrying the defense this season.
Since being drafted back in 2019, the argument could be made that No. 98 has been the team’s most valuable player, at least on defense. The Pro Bowl defensive end was the crown jewel of Mike Mayock’s tenure because, let’s face it, it wasn’t his first-round picks. Coming into the season with lofty expectations, the defense as a whole has been a letdown. Injuries have plagued the unit, but there has been a lack of fundamental execution on the part of the players. Crosby, for his part, is doing more than just carrying his weight; the man is carrying the entire damn group.
Crosby’s effort is as clear as day on every down; his motor just doesn’t quit. Whether he’s getting after the quarterback or chasing down a runner from sideline to sideline, The Condor is there. Head coach Josh McDaniels elaborated more on Crosby’s importance while speaking to the media earlier this week.
“He has an incredible knack for making the right play. If he wasn’t playing his butt off on every single snap, those things wouldn’t happen. And he’s blocked sometimes and then gets off the block and chases the play down. I think he doesn’t get enough credit. Everyone sees him play hard, but that’s why he’s around so many plays and has a chance to make them is because he just plays at an elite level relative to his effort on every snap.”
It’s been a one-man show thanks to Maxx Crosby
As far as the rest of the defense, big-time free agent signing Chandler Jones included, the gap in production is astounding. With nine sacks heading into Week 12, Crosby is far and away the sack leader. Behind him, you have Tyler Hall (yup) with one sack, Jones with half of one, and Nate Hobbs with one of his own. Clelin Ferrell has the same number of sacks as Jones; let that sink in.
According to CBS Sports, Crosby is the only NFL player with 15 tackles for a loss and 15 QB hits. You can also tack on a blocked field goal to that total after Sunday’s action as well. Oh, and he’s in the top ten for several key categories, including pressures, sacks, and tackles among defensive ends.
At this rate, you have to wonder if Crosby is making a case for Defensive Player of the Year, regardless of the Raiders’ record.
*Top Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images