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Raiders Mailbag: Can Maxx Crosby, defensive line continue their party in the backfield?

Rich Raider said:

"The key to beat the Jets is to put pressure on Zach Wilson. Maxx & Tyree could have a great day."

The key to beating any team in the NFL is getting pressure on their quarterback, and I have a good feeling the Raiders defense will do that this Sunday.

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has been sacked at least four times in his past four games, including the Los Angeles Chargers sacking him eight times on Monday Night Football. As for the amount of sacks the Raiders defense picked up last Sunday: eight.

The success of the Raiders' passing defense starts up front, with Maxx Crosby in the midst of a Defensive Player of the Year type year. Currently he leads all edge rushers in snaps played, tackles for loss and quarterback pressures. He hasn't been doing it all alone, with veterans Bilal Nichols, Adam Butler, John Jenkins and Jerry Tillery recording a combined 5.5 sacks. The unit is also seeing progression from rookie first-rounder Tyree Wilson, who's totaled five solo tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble over his last three games.

"In terms of executing their assignments and the game plan for that game, they did a good job with that," defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said. "But the thing that stands out the most when you look at all the pressures was the effort, just the guys' relentless pursuit to the ball. They were hungry to get to the football. I can't give you the exact number, but a lot of sacks throughout this league starts with the effort of those players playing really hard on each play and making the play."

Matthew Threlfall asks:

"Will our defense be able to stop the run?"

While the Raiders' passing defense has looked formidable, there's still more to be desired in stopping the run, having allowed 4.5 yards per carry and 10 rushing touchdowns through nine games.

The team certainly has capable run stoppers in Crosby and Robert Spillane, but the unit must take necessary measures in combatting the run against the Jets' 1-2 punch at running back with Breece Hall and former Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook. Hall, coming off a season-ending ACL injury his rookie year, is leading the backfield with 5.2 yards a carry. They'll also have to contain Zach Wilson in the pocket, who has 130 rushing yards.

"It was great getting eight sacks. It's not cool giving up 100 [rushing] yards. That's not cool," Antonio Pierce said. "The cool part is being heavy handed, dominant up front, making a team one dimensional. I don't care what team, what year of football we're in, you stop the run.

"You've got to be stout up front. You've got to be heavy handed. Linebackers got to be hammers, the corners got to come out there and be secondary support players and our back end got to come down there and bring that thump."

Balcazar Marz asks:

"Will Adams and Renfrow get more targets?"

Obviously people want to see Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow more involved in the offensive gameplan. However, I'm more impressed seeing how much the passing offense is opening up in general.

Quarterback Aidan O'Connell connected with eight different receivers throughout last week's game. The success in the passing game also stemmed from Josh Jacobs and the rushing attack getting established early and the offensive line keeping their rookie quarterback upright.

As the offense continues to spread out, there will be more than enough for Adams and Renfrow to get going, but everyone else around them needs to do their jobs effectively to make that happen. We saw that be the case against the Giants, and hopefully it can carry over against the Jets in Week 10.

View team photographer Matt Aguirre's top 25 photos from Allegiant Stadium's catwalk during the Las Vegas Raiders' Week 9 victory against the New York Giants.

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