If the Las Vegas Raiders’ struggling defense is going to make some strides in the last two games of the season, they will need a resurgence from standout pass rusher Maxx Crosby.
The second-year defensive end hasn’t had a sack in the past five games, and has only totally six sacks on the season. Crosby, a fourth-round pick in 2019, had 10 sacks last season as a rookie. He currently has 33 tackles total in 2020 after having 47 tackles in 2019.
Crosby has played a ton this season and has racked up a lot of work and it may be showing:
Maxx Crosby had 0 tackles or QB hits in 62 snaps last night for #Raiders. Crosby has gone 5 straight games w/out a sack. Crosby has played 82% of defensive snaps this season (6th highest among DL). Gruden: "He's probably getting a little worn down."— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) December 18, 2020
#Raiders Maxx Crosby has covered 13,005 yards this season per NextGen stats from @sportradar. That's more than 1,000 more than any other defensive lineman this season— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) December 18, 2020
Last Friday, Raiders coach Jon Gruden was asked if he thought Crosby may be wearing down a bit and Gruden had an interesting answer.
“He’s probably getting a little worn down and he’s getting a lot of attention,” Gruden said. “Getting chipped, getting the tight end that way to nudge him on the way out. It’s been tough for him. We haven’t had a real consistent inside rush, which is tough on edge rushers. That’s an area we need to improve, but I love Crosby. I love his effort and he’s got a great amount of football character. He’s going to be a really good Raider for years to come.”
There is no doubt Crosby should be part of the long-term plan in Las Vegas. But the Raiders need to help him with more pass rushers and a dominant defensive tackle never hurts, either.
If the Raiders get better around Crosby. he will have a chance to play a little less and perhaps be more effective over the course of a full season.