Michigan's own: Why Raiders' Maxx Crosby 'cannot wait' for first game at Ford Field on Monday night

Monday night’s prime-time showdown between the Las Vegas Raiders (3-4) and Detroit Lions (5-2) is more than just a battle between two teams looking to put ugly Week 7 losses behind them. It’s a homecoming for one of the most ferocious pass rushers in the league, Maxx Crosby.

“I cannot wait,” Crosby said in a phone interview with NFL Media on Saturday. “That’s all I can say.”

Crosby, who was born in Michigan before he and his family moved to Texas when he was 11 years old, said he was a “die-hard” Lions fan growing up. He returned to his home state to play college ball at Eastern Michigan before being picked by the Raiders in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The 106th overall selection, Crosby was on the board for each of the Lions’ first three picks in that draft. Detroit instead opted for T.J. Hockenson (Round 1), Jahlani Tavai (Round 2) and Will Harris (Round 3).

“I wouldn’t say I was mad,” he said, describing how he felt when his childhood team passed on him in the draft. “But, I remember everything. I remember everything. Let’s just leave it at that.”

Related Links

  • 2023 NFL season: Four things to watch for in Raiders-Lions on Monday night
  • The First Read: Five season-altering wins from Week 8; plus, MVP rankings and Week 9's must-see game
  • 2023 NFL season, Week 8: What We Learned from Sunday's games

The Raiders faced the Lions during Crosby’s rookie year in Oakland, winning 31-24, but Monday night will be his first time playing at Ford Field.

The two-time Pro Bowler is the only Raider with more than one sack this season (he has 6.5) and has at least half a sack in five consecutive games — the longest streak of his career. His relentlessness and production have gained the attention of many around the league, including Lions head coach Dan Campbell.

“[Crosby] is the most disruptive defensive player we’ve played all year to this point,” Campbell said during Thursday’s news conference.

With the help of the Raiders’ strength and conditioning team, including Rick Slate and A.J. Neibel, Crosby said he has been able to reach another level this year. Starting in the offseason, Crosby and his team focused on finding the 1 percent in every area — preparation, rehab, recovery, training, speed and power — to improve physically.

As for the mental aspect of his game, Crosby said that was also a focus during the offseason. One of the most impactful activities for him: reading.

“Usually in (training) camp, in my off time, I get back around 8 o’clock and I’ll play a game of NBA 2K or something, (watch) some Netflix. But I didn’t play any video games (this time),” he said. “I literally read a chapter of Relentless by Tim Grover every night. I locked in on this mob book (too). I’m into like the old-school mob stuff with the Sopranos and all that.”

Crosby said he doesn’t get to read as much during the season, but credits the takeaways from his offseason reading for helping him to improve his game and overall mindset.

“There are different ways to lead, and I’m just trying to find out,” he said. “There’s no perfect formula, but I want to be the best version of myself. No matter what approach that is, from being a leader to a player, I’m gonna explore every single avenue.”

Crosby has played a crucial part in helping Las Vegas’ defense limit four straight opponents to fewer than 200 passing yards — tied for the longest active streak in the NFL. The Raiders will likely need him to showcase that “boss” mentality on Monday night, as they take on a Lions team that entered Week 8 with the fifth-best passing offense in the league (258.6 yards per game).

Source: Read Full Article