The Las Vegas Raiders are set to open the season as underdogs at home against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have recently dealt with a slew of injuries but quarterback Lamar Jackson is healthy and locked in. As long as he plays, they’re going to be a hard team to beat.
He’ll provide a unique challenge to the Raiders as they won’t be seeing another quarterback like him this season. If the silver and black can figure out how to slow him down, they’re going to have a strong shot at winning. If he runs all over them, then Las Vegas could be in for a rough night. Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby is going to be an important part of the team’s plan to contain him. He revealed his thoughts on the quarterback ahead of the matchup.
“Lamar Jackson is a freak, freak athlete, he’s a great playmaker for a reason, but he’s who we got to play this week so we got a great game plan, the coaches have done a great job and we gotta do our best to contain him,” Crosby said in a post-practice interview on September 10.
“Contain” is a great word to use there as it’s hard to fully stop the 2019 NFL MVP. Containing Jackson may be enough for the Raiders to pull of the win if the offense delivers.
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Crosby Believes That the Defensive Line Is Growing
The Raiders defense has been a major issue for the team for years. A lot of those issues stem from a lackluster defensive line. The group received an influx of talent this season and could be poised for a big year. Crosby is happy with what he’s seen from his teammates.
“I’ve seen this group grow and grow every single day,” Crosby said. “We’re pushing ourselves to the limit in practice. In practice, that’s the hard part. Once the game comes, it should be a lot easier. That’s our mentality every day: push ourselves and keep building and making that standard higher and higher. And I think that’s going to take us to where we need to be.”
New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley runs a defensive system that requires the defensive line to apply pressure to the quarterback without having to blitz. If the defensive line is as ineffective as it has been for years, the Raiders defense could hold the team back.
Ngakoue Thinks Raiders Can Slow Down Jackson
The biggest addition the Raiders made this offseason was the signing of Yannick Ngakoue. The former Pro Bowler has never had less than 8.0 sacks in a season and will provide a boost to the team’s pass rush. Plus, he was most recently seen playing with the Ravens which could give the Raiders a bit of help. He knows that Jackson is a difficult player to stop but believes he knows what Las Vegas needs to do to make it happen.
“If you’re on your assignments and on your keys, specifically, as a defense, we should be able to have a lot of great fits to stop what [Jackson] has going on,” Ngakoue told the media after practice on September 9. “I’m not taking anything away from him. That’s my guy. He’s a great player and a superstar, but if we do what we’re supposed to do, it should be some great results.”