Throughout the first two seasons of his career, Maxx Crosby showed the Las Vegas Raiders that he could grow into a solid defensive end. However, in Year 3, he dramatically improved his play and was named Second-Team All-Pro. The growth didn’t stop in Year 4 as Crosby had a career-high 12.5 sacks and was named to his second Pro Bowl.
He’s cemented himself as one of the best defensive players in the league but needs help. The Raiders had the 26th-ranked scoring defense and there were no standout players on defense outside of Crosby. The defensive end has grown into a leader on the team and many look up to him. He’s not happy with how 2022 went. The Raiders finished 6-11 and missed the playoffs. Crosby came out and listed what he expects from his teammates this offseason to ensure that they improve next year.
“We need to re-evaluate the standard — what is playing hard, what is improvement, what does that look like?” Crosby said, per Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I think that starts with the offseason, having everyone on the same page and re-evaluating that standard and getting to where we need to be.
“That’s every single guy on our team — there shouldn’t be a gray area. There should be 11 guys playing relentlessly no matter what the score is, no matter our situation.”
Crosby Knows Roster Will Look Different
For right now, the best Crosby can do is push his teammates who are currently under contract to work hard this offseason. However, there should be sweeping changes to the defense. The Raiders will almost certainly add multiple players to all three levels of the defense. Crosby is well aware of that reality.
“I expect there to be a big turnover,” Crosby said. “That’s basically every year in the NFL.”
Once new players start to get acquired, there’s no doubt Crosby will be one of the first Raiders to reach out to them.
Crosby Stresses Importance of Winning
Crosby can rack up statistics and awards but that’s not what matters to him. He wants to be playing in and winning games that matter. He knows that 2022 wasn’t good enough despite his excellent play. While the Raiders looked bad this season, Crosby thinks that they don’t need to do much to be a very good team.
“I’m here to win,” Crosby said. “That’s all that matters to me. It’s the most important thing. You can look at things any way you want, but 6-11 is 6-11. It’s unacceptable. I don’t think we’re as far away as what everyone thinks, but I do think everything needs to be re-evaluated from everybody.
“We want to win here. We want to win Super Bowls. I want to be in those playoff games. That’s why I do this. Big games are what I look forward to most. That’s why you work year-round, so it’s disappointing when it doesn’t happen.”
Crosby has only had the chance to play in one playoff game in four years and the Raiders lost. In fact, the team hasn’t won a playoff game in 20 years. Crosby is hoping to be part of the turnaround but the team clearly has a lot of work to do before they become serious contenders.