When Ben Needham took over as Eastern Michigan’s defensive line coach in February of 2018 he expected some push back from his star defensive end who was coming off a very strong Sophomore campaign with his old position coach.
Needham decided it would be wise to get ahead of the potential problem and bring Maxx Crosby in and get the relationship off to a good start.
“So I was intentional about heading that off and sat down with Maxx,” Needham said on my Just Pod Baby podcast. “I told him I’m excited to get to work with you man, but I just want you to know...and before I could even get into my pre-rehearsed spiel he cuts me off and says, ‘coach all I want to do is get better. And so whatever you need me to do, whatever I need to change, I’m here to get better’.”
Coach Needham was immediately taken aback, having never experienced that before when taking over a new job. It was at that point he knew he had something special in Maxx Crosby. You can hear the full interview below.
One of the top priorities of Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock was to not only bring in talented players through the draft but also guys with high character, who can lead, and love the game of football. Maxx Crosby checks all of those boxes as well as filling a major position of need.
As I was wrapping up our interview I asked coach Needham if he had any good stories worth telling about Maxx Crosby that would give Raiders fans an idea the type of player they are getting in their new fourth round pick.
“Oh, how much time do you have?” Needham responded “We had two games in November, which was crunch time for us, trying to get bowl eligible. And both games we were playing well on defense and it was a tight game, we were in a defensive battle, we were playing good defense and so was the other team. And in both games, Central Michigan and Akron, Maxx made game changing plays that were not in the scouting report.
“Central decides to go for it on a fourth and one and lines up in a goofy formation, unbalanced and about eight guys on one side of the ball. If you watch the film we are kinda running around like chickens with our heads cut off, can’t get lined up and they snap it and on the headsets we are like oh shoot, oh shoot, oh shoot. And Maxx swims under a guy, beats the puller, dives, and makes a five yard tackle for loss.
“And then Akron similar situation, they’re backed up and they try to throw a quick bubble pass, Maxx beats the cut block, one hands the pass and we didn’t know what happened. We had to watch the replay to see he walked it into the end zone.”
Here are clips of both of the plays.
The 4th and 1 versus Central Michigan that @CoachBenNeedham highlighted on “Just Pod Baby” pic.twitter.com/YWZydrTYgN— Evan Groat (@Egroat5) May 22, 2019
@CrosbyMaxx Pick six vs Akron pic.twitter.com/0IQCpIG6Be— Evan Groat (@Egroat5) May 22, 2019
Crosby is not a finished product by any means. He needs to add bulk and strength to his long, thin frame but with his love and passion for the game the future looks bright for Maxx Crosby.