As the Las Vegas Raiders got to the real football today – with their pads on – their coach Jon Gruden and defensive standout Maxx Crosby talked about getting back to business with just two weeks until the start of the regular season.
HENDERSON, Nev. – For Maxx Crosby, being back in the Las Vegas Raiders Intermountain Health Care Performance Center was exactly where he needed to be. Freshly off the COVID-19 injury reserve list, Crosby didn’t want to talk about his asymptomatic home quarantine, instead, he focused on business.
“I know a lot of you are going to ask me about coronavirus and all of that,” Maxx Crosby started the press conference proactively addressing the issue. “I feel fine, I’m perfectly fine. They’re working with me, I’m getting back. I would love to talk about football. But I’m doing well though. I appreciate you all, I’m doing well. I’m all good.”
So Maxx Crosby did get back to football and he specifically pointed out how different things are with the arrival of defensive line coach Rod Marinelli and how his new supporting cast of Raiders also fit a different mold.
I don’t want a coach that taps me on the ass being nice and overdue everything, ‘Yeah, good job Maxx!’ I don’t want that. – Maxx Crosby on coach Rod Marinelli
“First off, Coach Marinelli, the thing I love about him is he keeps it real and he pushes me every day,” Crosby said of the veteran coach. “That’s one thing I want, I don’t want, just because I had one good year, I don’t want a coach that taps me on the ass being nice and overdue everything, ‘Yeah, good job Maxx!’ I don’t want that. That’s not me, that’s not my personality. I love the way he coaches, I can’t wait for the season to get here because he’s getting us better every single day. He’s pushing us to the limits.”
Maxx Crosby credits the arrival of Marinelli with a new attitude that is perpetuated by his new teammates with more focus and a serious football mindset. Because of this, Crosby believes the Raiders defense has a high ceiling for 2020.
“I think the sky’s the limit. We literally are completely different up front now,” Crosby said. “We have a bunch of guys that love to play the game. So, when we have a full unit of 8-10 guys on the d-line working on the same page and that love ball, good things are going to happen. I think we got more talented, I think we have more guys that really love football. I think we’re going to go out there and do some good things.”
Of course, Gruden recruited Marinelli and likes him for the same reasons.
“He’s a great coach. He’s all business,” Gruden said of Marinelli. “He’s tough as hell. He doesn’t give in to tough times. He’s old school and he’s also on the cutting edge every year in terms of how to rush the passer and play defensive line.”
Still No Trent Brown
For the fifth day of workouts in a row, Raiders starting right tackle Trent Brown was not on the field for morning practice. Since last week, Gruden has been saying the were just managing his schedule differently like running back Josh Jacobs. Jacobs returned to practice yesterday but Brown is still out.
Is there something more to it and why would he miss the first padded practice of 2020?
“Trent, again, he should be out in a few days,” is all Gruden would say.
Sam Young Continues to Impress
As I reported on Raider Nation Radio 920 last Friday, reserve tackle Sam Young continues to impress all those watching – including Gruden.
The Notre Dame product signed with the Raiders this offseason and they are his sixth team since being drafted in 2010.
“Sam Young is a salty veteran,” Gruden said. “He’s an experienced swing tackle, has played tight end at times – he’s a pro football player. He’s going to compete for the third tackle job and right now he’s making a good impression.”
Before you scoff at such talk for a third tackle job, depth is important at every position but the Raiders history over the past few years with linemen has been tough. Having an experienced veteran like Young was yet another wise roster move by GM Mike Mayock and Gruden.
Carr and Defensive Speed Catch Gruden’s Eye on Day 1
For all the talk about the relationship between Gruden and starting quarterback Derek Carr over the years, the relationship and the coach’s happiness level with his top signal-caller seems to be on good footing.
“I’m really impressed with Derek Carr. He’s throwing the ball great. He has great command. I think we’re a lot faster on defense. We have a long way to go in our evaluation, but so far, there’s a lot to like and be excited about.
“I’m really impressed with Derek Carr,” Gruden said Monday. “He’s throwing the ball great. He has great command.”
Gruden also said he likes the new speed on defense but it’s all too early to claim victory.
“I think we’re a lot faster on defense,” Gruden said. “We have a long way to go in our evaluation, but so far, there’s a lot to like and be excited about.”
Only 13 Practices Left
Due to COVID-19 stealing the normal NFL offseason, the Raiders have just 13 padded practices left to evaluate players, make their cuts to the 53-man roster and then open up the season on the road at Carolina on September 13th.
“We are going to play these games in pads,” Gruden said. “We can only have so many walkthroughs. Pads is going to be a deciding factor in who starts, who makes the team. You got to stage some live drills at some point. We’re not having any preseason games. We have to simulate tackles in 1-on-1 situations. That evaluation is a long way off, but we can hopefully see it in the next 10 days.”