Maliek Collins wasn’t exactly a household name when he was with the Dallas Cowboys. He’s always been a solid player but was never a Pro Bowler or a star. He came to the Las Vegas Raiders on a one year deal this offseason but has already started to get a lot of hype.
Head coach Jon Gruden has given Collins some very high praise this offseason and continued it on Wednesday.
“I’ll go back to Maliek Collins, it all starts there,” Gruden told the media. “He’ll be the anchor. We’ll go as far as he takes us.”
Those are some very strong words about Collins. Though his sacks numbers aren’t overly impressive, he’s been one of the most effective interior pass rushers in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. The Raiders haven’t been able to generate a lot of pressure on the inside but Collins should change that. It’s still early in his career in Las Vegas but it wouldn’t be surprising if the Raiders were already trying to figure out how to give him a longer deal.
Gruden Denies Tricking Team
With the news that a number of NCAA football conferences won’t play football this fall, it’s seeming more possible that NFL games could get postponed. However, Gruden isn’t trying to think about that possibility right now.
“It’s not my decision,” Gruden said. “I trust the medical people advising us on what to do. I take it very seriously. I want to do what’s right for our players and coaches to be as safe as possible. I want to be part of beating this virus into the dirt. Whether or not we should or shouldn’t or will or won’t is not a question I have. I try to stay focused on the mission we have to be a great football team, the best we can possibly be, and stay healthy.”
Last week, a story went viral about how Gruden faked that he was hospitalized with COVID-19 in order to emphasize how important it is for players to be smart. From the outside looking in, it was easy to see why that might have been in poor taste. Gruden denied that he did that.
“There was a (report) I faked the virus, which is totally untrue,” Gruden said. “I take this as serious as anyone.”
Even if Gruden did actually trick his team, it sounds like he did it with very serious intentions and not as some sort of practical joke.
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Gruden Addresses Maxx Crosby on COVID-19 List
The Raiders are already taking COVID-19 very seriously and one of their best players recently tested positive for the disease. Defensive end Maxx Crosby has had to miss practice due to a positive test. Gruden wasn’t able to give any update on the pass rusher.
“I try not to make any predictions,” he said. “I don’t speculate when it comes to the virus. Hopefully, he’s back soon.”
Based on Crosby’s social media activity, he seems to be doing fine. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to come to practice until he no longer tests positive. It could be any day now but it could also be weeks from now.