Maxx Crosby has become an unstoppable force among NFL pass rushers

Source: Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

Since Week 1, Maxx Crosby has been having a breakout season to remember. Many predicted a breakout for Crosby, but few predicted how good the breakout was really going to be.

Crosby was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. In his rookie season, he finished with 11 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, 5 QB Hits, and 4 forced fumbles. His impressive rookie resume led to a Defensive Rookie of the Year nomination. Crosby was beat out for DROY by Nick Bosa of the 49ers.

Crosby’s second year wasn’t as eventful as the first. As he battled addiction and triumphed in sobriety, his body was trying to get back on track. Crosby played the entirety of the 2020 season with a torn labrum and broken hand. His sophomore season ended with 7 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, and 9 QB hits.

Heading into year three, Crosby has looked stronger, healthier, and ready to go. Crosby hasn’t disappointed those who were anticipating a huge season in 2021.

The Stats

The 24-year-old out of Eastern Michigan has taken the NFL by storm through six weeks. Crosby has racked up 7 sacks and 4 tackles for loss according to PFF. Incredibly, he also has 11 quarterback hits and 43 total pressures – all NFL highs this season. He was Week 1’s AFC Defensive Player of the Week, and if you ask me, he made a serious case for it again in Week 6 despite the primetime performance of Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt.

“We feel like we’re one of the best d-lines in the league, if not the best,” Crosby said after Sunday’s win against the Broncos. “That’s how we carry ourselves. We practice like it, we carry ourselves like it.”

“Coach Marinelli always talks about standard, and for us, we have a standard as a d-line. We feel like it always starts with us. So we’ve just got to be consistent every single game and cause havoc in the backfield.”

Crosby is in talks for Defensive Player of the Year and has received praise from some of the NFL’s top analysts, including Brian Baldinger, who said, “I just wanna grow up and play with the fire and intensity of #MadMaxx.”

The Difference Makers

On top of his triumphant mental success, Crosby has also had some other significant changes that have allowed him to have his breakout season.

There is no debate; new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has changed the Raiders’ defense for the better. Since his arrival in January, the Raiders defense has sung the praises of their new coach. Bradley’s scheme fits his young roster, and his coaching approach resonates with his players. Crosby says Bradley’s defense has a unique energy that has changed the team’s direction and himself this season.

Gus Bradley’s arrival also included the addition of many of his former players. For Crosby, the most prevalent addition was fellow DE Yannick Ngakoue. Crosby and Ngakoue clicked off the bat, and they instantly connected and made each other better. Ngakoue said Crosby and himself would be the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL this season. Thus far, they have most definitely lived up to that statement.

Crosby was named a team captain heading into the 2021 season. His role as a leader comes naturally to him. He welcomes adversity with open arms and is always there to lend a hand to his teammates. His leadership skills and his work ethic are unmatched. Without a doubt, those skills have helped launch him into the breakout season he is having this year.

Maxx Crosby is on pace to have a dream season, and it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon.

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