Raiders News: Antonio Pierce Says Teams Should ‘Worry About’ Maxx Crosby & Christian Wilkins
Antonio Pierce, Maxx Crosby, Raiders
Jan 7, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce is on the sideline during a game against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders, under new head coach Antonio Pierce, appear set to play a much more physical brand of football heading into the 2024 season.

When Pierce took over for former head coach Josh McDaniels, he made it a point to get the Raiders to be the tougher team on the field, and they did just that. The defense, in particular, took a step forward with Pierce at the helm and is poised for another strong year in 2024.

Maxx Crosby was an NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate last season, but the Raiders made sure to help him this past free agency by signing star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. Wilkins was the best defensive player on the market and could wreak havoc on the interior, while Crosby controlled the edge.

Pierce recently spoke about his new tandem along the defensive line and believes that opposing quarterbacks are going to have a tough time staying upright via Aidan Champion of Sports Illustrated:

“The other day, we went over to the [Las Vegas] Aces, played a little basketball, little team bonding,” Pierce said. “You know who the best player was? Christian Wilkins. Not even close. We’re all sitting there like, ‘What in the world is this?’ 300-pound man dunking. … But more importantly, the love, the leadership, the passion, the desire to win. We got to bring in winners. We got to bring in guys that want to win that’s going to strain. There’s two gentlemen in this building every day before coaches. Maxx Crosby, Christian Wilkins. They happen to be on the same D-line playing next to each other. God bless everybody else. Don’t worry about our quarterbacks, buddy, worry about yours.”

Pierce’s comments come on the heels of some criticism about Las Vegas’s quarterback options in Gardner Minshew and Aidan O’Connell. Minshew signed a two-year deal in free agency and is projected to be the starter, but Pierce will allow O’Connell to compete for the job.

Wilkins is a force on the interior and can generate pressure on his own, but he and Crosby should benefit from playing next to each other.

Maxx Crosby wants to be with Raiders for life

Crosby is the heart and soul of the Raiders franchise and has morphed into one of the best defensive players in the game. While the silver and black haven’t done too much winning since Crosby was drafted, he said he wants to be with the Raiders for life.