2020 was a brutal year for the Las Vegas Raiders on defense. Their franchise-record 478 points allowed made them 30th in the league, and contributed to keeping them out of the playoffs.
But one Raiders defender believes that they’re about to turn the corner on defense. Appearing on the Upon Further Review podcast, Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby said that the entire mentality for the defense has changed this offseason.
Crosby highlighted how much more quickly they’re learning things on the fly and are better prepared. He praised defensive coordinator Gus Bradley for the great work he’s doing too.
“They’re putting a lot on us mentally so we can learn on the fly and get everything in, because on game day, you’re not calling every single call, but you’ve got to be ready. You’ve got to know everything and be prepared,” Crosby said. “So coach Bradley does a great job. Me personally, I know once I mess up, I feel like that’s how I learn. Like, ‘Oh I messed up on that last time, I know that I need to do.’ And everybody’s different. So it’s been a great process. Everybody’s learning, everybody’s bought in. At the end of the day, our defense has got to get a lot better and we’re just working. That’s what we’re doing every single day and it’s been awesome.”
Offensively, the Raiders were fine this past year. They scored 20 or more points a game 14 times and went above 30 points in half of them.
But their defense continually let them down, giving up 30 points 10 times. The Raiders went 3-7 in those games, but 5-1 in games where they held opponents to 28 points or less.
Las Vegas made sure to prioritize their defense in the middle rounds of the draft, picking four players for their secondary out of seven draft picks. They addressed their defensive line in free agency with Yannick Ngakoue, Quinton Jefferson and Solomon Thomas.
Things should be looking up for the Raiders in 2021 if they can just play a little better on defense.