Raiders' Maxx Crosby Is Playing a Larger Role on Defense

Rookie defensive end has earned more playing time after terrific performances in victories over the Colts and Bears the past two weeks

During summer training camp, rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby had a starring role on HBO’s "Hard Knocks."

Now, five games into his first NFL season, Crosby is again in the spotlight for a Raiders defense that has made big strides in the team’s 3-2 start.

After missing action in exhibition games because of a broken hand, Crosby was healed in time for the team’s regular-season opener against the Broncos and has appeared in all five games. But it wasn’t until this past Sunday’s victory over the Bears in London that Crosby was able to really show what he’s capable of doing.

The former Eastern Michigan standout, taken in the fourth round of the draft, got extra playing time because of injuries and had his first pro sack and a tackle for loss, plus a quarterback hit in the Raiders’ 24-21 victory.

With starter Clelin Ferrell out with a concussion, Crosby played 57 snaps on defense.

Plus, Crosby was coming off a strong performance against the Colts the week before when he had two tackles, a quarterback hit and two deflected passes and a forced fumble. Head coach Jon Gruden wanted to step up his playing time.

"We didn’t want to take him out of the game," Gruden said after the victory over the Bears. "He’s playing special teams, too. … The guy’s factor grade at Indianapolis warranted more playing time.

"And he has, as you saw in training camp, he has incredible effort in his play. He just seems to never tire. He’s a fun guy to have. We have a lot of respect for what he’s done and a lot of goals for him to attain before he’s done playing here."

Crosby, who is 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, was considered on the light side for his position coming out of college, but has quickness and high energy.

Now he has a chance to play a big role for the Raiders, who have a bye week and return to action on Sunday, Oct. 20 vs. the Packers.

Tweeted Crosby after the Bears game: "Just the start. … Crazy where hard work can take you."

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