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    Longtime NFL Coach Rob Ryan Says Raiders’ Maxx Crosby Is the Best Defensive Player He’s Ever Seen

    Rob Ryan has coached his share of Hall of Famers and Super Bowl winners. But he explains why Maxx Crosby is the best out of all of them.

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    Longtime NFL defensive coordinator Rob Ryan knows talent when he sees it. After all, the Las Vegas Raiders assistant owns two Super Bowl rings and is the son of the late legendary coach Buddy Ryan.

    The man who has coached his share of Pro Bowl defenders handed Maxx Crosby a stirring title Wednesday.

    Rob Ryan Offers High Praise for Maxx Crosby

    Ryan, a senior Raiders assistant, heaped praise onto the Pro Bowl edge rusher who’s become the defensive leader for the Silver and Black.

    “When you talk about Maxx Crosby, you’re talking about the best defensive player in the league — probably in the history that I’ve ever seen. Now, I’ve only been around it 30 years, but I mean, he’s that good,” Ryan said to the Vegas media.

    Ryan is the same coach who once drew schemes up for Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, DeMarcus Ware, and Warren Sapp — all four winning Super Bowls during their illustrious careers.

    Ryan even ran defenses in an NFL era dominated by Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, Derrick Brooks, Luke Kuechly, J.J. Watt, and Patrick Willis. Sapp, Ware, and Aeneas Williams are three notable Hall of Famers Ryan once got the chance to coach.

    Yet Crosby stands out to Ryan as the best he’s ever seen, having spent his last three seasons with the three-time Pro Bowl selection for Vegas.

    Ryan glowed when describing Crosby. He even described the impact Crosby’s presence has inside the Raiders’ locker room.

    “Maxx makes everybody tougher. Maxx makes everybody better. Maxx makes everybody get tattoos. He’s just a badass,” Ryan said.

    How Does Crosby Stack Up Amongst NFL’s Best Edge Rushers?

    Crosby ignites the Raiders’ pass rush on gamedays. He’s delivered three seasons with double-digit sacks. He shattered his previous best of 12.5 sacks in 2022 by snatching 14.5 last season.

    Ryan raves about Crosby while the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert have to deal with him twice a year. But where does the Raiders star rank among the echelon of NFL’s pass rushers today?

    Crosby is in a position group that consists of the last three NFL Defensive Player of the Year winners: Myles Garrett, Nick Bosa, and T.J. Watt. All three have hit this feat Crosby has yet to accomplish — lead the league in sacks. And last season, five different defenders produced more sacks than Crosby.

    MORE: 2024 NFL EDGE Rankings: Where Does Maxx Crosby Rank?

    However, the 26-year-old Crosby has witnessed quite the trajectory with Ryan by his side and in getting more familiarized with Patrick Graham’s defensive scheme.

    Graham became convinced to scrap his 3-4 approach — also the scheme Ryan has run in the past when he was a coordinator — to implement more four-man fronts at the line of scrimmage. This approach allowed Crosby to draw more one-on-one scenarios, leading to plays getting blown up by the 6’5″ defender.

    Graham even gives Crosby the option for a “two-way go,” which allows him to choose to cut inside or stay outside to attack the edge.

    Under Graham and Ryan’s coaching, Crosby has improved his sack numbers while also adding a combined 45 tackles for a loss over the last two seasons.

    Crosby Addresses Recovering From Surgeries, Plus State of Raiders Defense

    Crosby has won over Ryan and Raider fans with his fiery play. He’s even had to heal from surgeries to prepare for 2024.

    The veteran shared with the media Tuesday that his road to recovery from a late-season ailment required going under the knife.

    “It’s been a hell of an offseason. It started right away. We played Denver in Week 18, and I think a week later I got surgery on my knee. And then, two weeks after that, I had to get surgery on my thumb. So it’s been a hell of a ride back,” Crosby shared.

    He turned to famed trainer Alex Guerrero to help speed up his recovery. The same Guerrero once trained seven-time Super Bowl-winning QB Tom Brady.

    Crosby is back wearing the No. 98 he’s popularized among Silver and Black fans. But this time, he’s getting some added interior muscle through prized free agent addition Christian Wilkins of the Miami Dolphins. Already, both men have disrupted the Raiders’ line in unison during team practices. Crosby is already noticing the impact of having Wilkins next to him.

    “When I first came into the league, I didn’t have an Aaron Donald in my room, or a guy that’s done it at the highest level,” Crosby explained. “He works his ass off. I feel like I haven’t had a guy like that since Yannick (Ngakoue). Yannick was constantly trying to compete with me in everything. Christian kind of reminds me of him in that way. It’s been a hell of a start so far.”

    Wilkins arrives to help free up Crosby by handling the dirty work on the inside. He became revered by the Dolphins for plugging up holes by taking on guards and centers.

    Crosby has witnessed a spike in his sack numbers. With the quadruple element of Ryan, Graham, and Wilkins, plus head coach Antonio Pierce having full reins for the entire season, the defender called the “best” by Ryan could be in a position to continue the edge rusher position’s streak of winning DPOY.

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