Pick Six: Maxx Crosby looking to pick up where he left off against the Chargers

1. Madd Maxx vs. Rashawn Slater

The Raiders' season opener in Los Angeles will pit two second-team All Pros against each other in the trenches.

According to Next Gen Stats, Maxx Crosby led the NFL with 82 quarterback pressures last season. He'll line up across from Chargers second-year tackle Rashawn Slater, who was a Pro Bowl selection his rookie season. Slater's quarterback, Justin Herbert, was pressured on only 4.2 percent of his dropbacks last season, fourth in the NFL.

The last time the two teams crossed paths Week 18 last season, Crosby had seven total tackles, three tackles for loss, three pass deflections and two sacks.

2. O Captain, My Captain

The Las Vegas Raiders announced their eight team captains for the season, which consist of three offensive players, three defensive players and two special teamers. Of the eight voted on by teammates, AJ Cole is the sole captain who came into the league undrafted.

Being selected is another full circle moment for Cole in his three-year NFL career. The punter came in for a tryout in 2019 from NC State and soon after, eared the job as the team's starting punter. He's coming off the best season of his career, earning his first Pro Bowl nod and first-team All Pro honors.

"It's pretty surreal. It's definitely not something I was expecting," Cole said on being voted a team captain. "It's a honor to be acknowledged by your teammates, by your peers as someone they look to as a leader. I think it's a really special moment for me in my career. I wasn't even a captain of my high school football team.

"For me, it's something to look back [on] and I'm excited to have this opportunity to be a voice and a leader of the special teams unit this year. It really does mean a lot to me."

3. Three's Company

Davante Adams brings a lot of hype to the this Raiders roster coming into this season. The receiver got a change of scenery this offseason, traded to the Silver and Black from the Green Bay Packers. This Sunday will be his first game as a Raider, reuniting with his college quarterback Derek Carr.

Entering his ninth season, Adams' career totals are 669 receptions, 8,121 receiving yards and 73 receiving TDs. That makes him one of only three players in NFL history to notch 650+ receptions, 8,000+ receiving yards and 70+ receiving TDs in his first eight seasons in the NFL. The other two are Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison and Arizona Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald.

4. The threat of Justin Herbert

Going into his third season, the Chargers QB has racked up 9,350 passing yards and 69 touchdown passes – which are both the most ever by a player in his first two seasons. In his four career games against the Raiders, he's thrown for 1,245 yards with a 10:1 touchdown to interception ratio.

"He's such an impressive quarterback back there in the pocket and then on top of that, having the athletic ability," Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham said. "And also have the athletic ability and be able to have the vision down the field. So, that's probably the first thing you talk about because there's explosive plays that are planned and explosive plays that are off-schedule."

5. Can the Raiders contain Austin Ekler?

Another threat to the Raiders defense in running back Austin Ekler, who like Herbert, has had great recent success against the Silver and Black.

The versatile back had nearly 1,600 total scrimmage yards last season with 20 total touchdowns. In his two encounters against the Raiders, he averaged a little over 90 rushing yards and two total touchdowns. According to Graham, Ekeler is someone the defense needs to know the whereabouts of at all times on the field.

"[Y]ou talk about the skill level, I mean, the guy can run, he can catch the ball, he's blocks in pass pro. He's really impressive," Graham said . "They move them all around, so obviously he has some football intelligence in terms of knowing the scheme. And he scores points. ... I mean, he's just a really impressive player that's definitely not under my radar because he's pretty dynamic and he can do everything right. He can do everything at a high level, which is impressive."

6. Health is wealth

The Raiders' injury report has been a beautiful sight, considering there's been no one on it this week. The Silver and Black look like they'll be going into the season opener at full strength.

"We've had enough periods of time where we've tried to gain some rest here and there," Josh McDaniels said Friday morning, "and then really obviously geared our treatment schedule and all the things we were trying to do to try to hopefully be as healthy as we can to start the season. You never know how that's going to go, but we have a healthy team right now. Knock on wood."

As for the health of the Chargers, Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson hasn't practiced this week and is day-by-day, per Coach Brandon Staley. Regardless of whether Davante Adams lines up against Jackson in Week 1 or not, he's prepared to give his best effort in SoFi Stadium.

"As far as talking about personnel, I don't really get into that stuff too much just because I like to focus on what it is that I'm doing," Adams said Wednesday. "I feel like if I can lock in on that, that gives me the best opportunity to be successful rather than worrying about who's in front of me. At the end of the day, no disrespect to anybody over there, but I'm not really too focused on that. I'm just kind of worried about making sure I lock in on what I got to do."

As the Raiders head to SoFi Stadium for their Week 1 matchup, take a look back at past matchups between the Silver and Black and the Los Angeles Chargers.

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