The Las Vegas Raiders have long had high hopes that their defense would be able to turn things around during the offseason.
The young core for the Raiders has shown plenty of promise in years past. The emergence of players like defensive end Maxx Crosby has certainly helped kickstart the process leading up to the 2021 NFL season.
Of course, this is hardly the first time that there has been optimism about this group heading into training camp. Crosby feels it is about time they start realizing their potential instead of fantasizing about it.
Las Vegas once again managed to make a few splashes on the defensive side of the ball through free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft. According to Anthony Galaviz of The Fresno Bee, Crosby wants this unit to play up to expectations instead of hearing about how good they could be:
And he’s sick of it. Enough is enough for Crosby when it comes to “potential.”
“I’m fired up about the (defensive) room,” he said this week as the 2021 camp gets rolling. “We have a lot of potential, but I’m sick of saying that word. I hear it every single year. I’m just ready to go out there Sundays and play at a very high level.”
Crosby’s comments are certainly understandable since there is little stock in promise overproduction. The time has come for the Raiders to make their playoff hopes come to fruition instead of trusting it will somehow come to fruition on potential alone.
Not only did they put the finishing touches on their youth movement in the secondary, but they also bolstered their personnel up front by bringing in Yannick Ngakoue, Quinton Jefferson, and Solomon Thomas.
Crosby has not been shy about his praise for Ngakoue’s skill set and track record of production. It appears that the feeling is mutual after the latter’s bold claim of their potential as one of the best pass rush duos in the league next year.
Crosby has done his part to help turn things around with 17.0 sacks through his first two seasons. Unfortunately, it was hardly enough to prevent this group from finishing the 2020 campaign 25th in total defense (389.1 yards per game) and 30th in points allowed (29.9 per game).
The onus will ultimately fall on new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to find a way to put it all together if the Raiders hope to take that next step.