Since getting drafted by the Las Vegas Raiders in 2019, Maxx Crosby went from relative unknown to NFL star.
Crosby has established himself as one of the best players at his position and is set to lead the defense in the 2023 season. The defensive end is a hard worker and quality leader, but he alone can’t prop up a defense that has been one of the league’s worst over the past several years.
Las Vegas is anxious to make the postseason again after losing in the Wild Card round of the 2021 NFL Playoffs to the Cincinnati Bengals. However, their path to getting back there is arduous considering the strength of the AFC West and the rest of the conference.
For a competitor like Crosby, missing the playoffs is excruciating, and he expressed how much he didn’t want to miss them again via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN:
#Raiders Crosby: “I don’t come here to NOT make the playoffs. I’m sick of that sh_t.”
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) August 10, 2023
Fans can surely sympathize with Crosby who has already had to endure multiple losing seasons during his Raiders tenure. Las Vegas is coming off a 6-11 record in 2022, so Crosby’s going to have to carry even more of the load to ensure that doesn’t happen again.
Fortunately, he’s got more veteran help for 2023 as the Raiders brought in Marcus Epps and Marcus Peters to shore up their secondary. They’re also hoping for a resurgence year from Chandler Jones as well as meaningful contributions from Tyree Wilson.
So far in training camp, Las Vegas’ defense looks much improved though it’s not going to mean much if it doesn’t translate in the regular season. Hopefully, it does, and the Silver and Black are able to compete for a coveted postseason berth.
Patrick Graham believes sky is the limit for Chandler Jones
Jones was thought to be a massive boost to the Raider defense in 2022, but that did not go according to plan as he showed signs of decline. The former Pro Bowler mustered up only 4.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hits, paltry numbers compared to previous seasons.
However, the veteran edge rusher came into training camp with a positive mindset and the confidence that he can still be effective. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is going to be counting on Jones to find his form again and expressed his confidence in him by saying that the sky is the limit for him.