There’s a bit of an eating contest going on with the Raiders edge rushers. Since the end of last season the Raiders have talked about 2018 third round pick Arden Key putting on weight and getting stronger. Then they added Maxx Crosby in the fourth round of this draft and immediately asked him to pack it on as well.
Key’s weight has been discussed at length. How he played around 240 last season, came into OTA’s at 245, bulked up to 260 and now has lost five pounds in camp to drop down to 255.
Crosby’s weight hadn’t been discussed until today when Gruden brought it up following practice.
“He’s a guy that has really gotten stronger,” Gruden said of Crosby. “He really likes the training table in there and the 10 o’clock snack. We’ve encouraged him to eat and take those supplements to get stronger and heavier. He can play left end, he can play right end, he has an incredible motor. He wins the gassers too at the end of practice. That’s a great ingredient to have, effort. He’s working on his repertoire. [Defensive line coach] Brent Buckner’s a heck of a coach and we’re seeing some improvement.”
Packing on weight can be tricky. These guys must add ‘good weight’ which means to make sure they’re not just getting fat, but getting stronger. Weight that stays on and doesn’t slow them down. Crosby has been busy working on his coach’s request to bulk up.
“Coming out of college I weighed maybe 240 and right now I weighed in this morning at 266,” said Crosby. “So, I’ve been doing everything I can and putting the right calories in my body to be ready for Sundays.”
Twenty six pounds in quite a bit of added weight. It hasn’t slowed Crosby down, that’s for sure. He’s got a motor that runs constantly and he makes sure he finishes every drills either first or near first. The guy never sits still. He always bouncing around and if there’s a rap song on he likes, he’s dancing as well.
The 21-year-old sees his hustle as paying off for him, saying “I want to be the first in everything I do, so once the game comes it’s easy.”
His motor has gained him a reputation. A good one, mind you. And it is replete with a video from practice that was making the rounds in which he got the edge on second year tackle Brandon Parker. He chuckled when I asked him about it because he has noticed the video has been passed around. But he was also quick to shoot down its significance.
“I don’t pay too much attention to it,” Crosby said with a smile. “I just got to get better every single day. The biggest thing about being a professional is winning the next rep, not just winning one rep. The coaches emphasize that a lot, so I just got to keep bringing it every day.”
The soft spoken rookie wants to be seen as more than just a ‘hair on fire’ edge rusher. He takes pride in his all-around game and the weight gain should help him in that regard.
“I just try to focus on the little details and just affecting the game more than just pass rushing,” Crosby said. “I believe coming in everyone saw me as just a pass rusher, and that was my one thing that stood out, but I feel like I’m a complete player and I can affect the game in many ways. That’s just the main thing. Just doing the little things right and just focusing on affecting the game as much as I can.”
Defensive play of the day
Crosby had a couple nice defensive plays in practice today. Proving some of what he was saying with regard to being more than just an edge rusher. On one play he got in Derek Carr’s passing lane in the right flat to bat down his attempt. A bit later, he sniffed out the end around from Hunter Renfrow and met him behind the line for a tackle for loss. Just to drive the point home, Crosby wrapped up Renfrow and lifted the 5-10, 185-pound receiver in the air for a couple seconds before placing him back on the ground. Think of it like giving his fellow rookie teammate a big hug.
Catch of the day
The most entertaining catch was JJ Nelson who got free up the left sideline and made a circus catch, tipping the ball probably three times before hauling it in. The issue is, he made it far more difficult than it had to be because he stopped running and turned to jump for the ball. Had he kept running, he may have had it in stride.
Others with good looking catches were Keelan Doss, Tyrell Williams, and Darren Waller. Though Waller also got wide open behind Daryl Worley only to drop a perfect pass from Carr. It was brutal. Can’t have drops like that.
Another day without Antonio Brown. Prior to the day off Jon Gruden sounded like he really thought AB would be back and would soon be practicing full. That hasn’t happened. And it’s frustrating.
“I’m an optimistic guy,” Gruden said of his hopes Brown would be back by now. “Yeah, I mean I think we’re all disappointed. We think he’s disappointed. We’d like to get the party started. We’d like to get him out here. He’s a big part of this team, but in the time being we’re going to continue to work hard and we’ve seen the development of some other receivers we are excited about.”
Brown came off the NFI list on day two, but since then has seen just two partial practices while missing four full practices in six days. The wait continues.
Paul Butler wasn’t practicing today with an undisclosed injury. Others not practicing include Gabe Wright (knee), Eddie Vanderdoes (concussion), Quinton Bell (undisclosed), and Antonio Brown (Feet?). PUP: Denzelle Good (back). NFI: Keith Smith (knee).