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How Maxx Crosby proved to be an ironman of the Raiders defense

The Raiders defense can say that they've seen it all this season.

Throughout the irregular 2020 season in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Silver and Black defense has not had a lot of consistency. The unit had their struggles throughout the season with injuries and positive COVID tests in one of the toughest years for any Raiders defense in their franchise history.

Fortunately for the Raiders, they have a tough young man from Eastern Michigan who was able to lead the way.

Second-year defensive end Maxx Crosby completed his season as one of the only Raider to start in all 16 games on defense this season. He also played in every game is rookie season, as he hasn't missed a game in the NFL since being drafted by the Raiders in the fourth round out of Eastern Michigan.

"That's something I pride myself on, being a tough individual," said Maxx Crosby. "This whole season I've been banged up and had little things bothering me, but there's nothing that's going to take me off the field unless I absolutely can't run or do what I can do on the field. (The Raiders) are getting somebody who can play their ass off every single game and play no matter what."

Crosby led the team in sacks for a second straight season with seven, which was a third of the team's 21 sacks this season. He also finished the season in Denver with four tackles, a sack, two quarterback hits and two vital field-goal blocks on Broncos kicker Brandon McManus, and don't forget that second one iced the game.

"It was the first time I've ever blocked a field goal in my entire life, so getting two in one game was kind of crazy," said Crosby. "I reached and got through the gaps, and I was happy I could help my team and block those field goals."

No. 98's season has made an impression on Head Coach Jon Gruden, who is excited to get his anchor of the defense in the weight room this offseason.

"I don't think there's any doubt that he can be a great player here. There's no doubt about that," said Coach Gruden. "He needs what all young players need, especially coming out of a smaller type college: He needs the weight room. He needs the offseason. He needs a little bit of help, I think, in the strength and conditioning area, but he is a heck of a football player with a great motor. We expect big things from him moving forward."

Madd Maxx is on the same page as his coach, looking forward to the offseason to give him and his defense the chance to get healthy and grow as a unit going into the 2021 season.

"As a defense as a whole, we have to be locked in from start to finish. I think we have good moments, but then there's lack of focus, lack of detail and lack of intensity at times."

"I give our guys a lot of credit. This year wasn't exactly what we expected, but I'm glad we got to finish it off the right way and get a win here."

View the best photos from the Raiders' Week 17 matchup against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High.

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