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Raiders edge rushers stay ready vs Ravens, wreak havoc on Lamar Jackson – Raiders Wire

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I saw a stat shortly after the Raiders crazy win over the Ravens Monday night that said Lamar Jackson was pressured on over 50% of his dropbacks. That seems like a lot, and it is, but watching it, if you’d asked me how many times it seemed like Jackson was running for his life, I would have said it was even more often.

It honestly seemed like every time he took the snap, he had one of the Raiders edge rusher bearing down on him before he could even set his feet. It was unreal. Especially when you consider the Raiders have been one of the worst pass rushing teams in the league the past three seasons.

What was most impressive is the pressure never let up. From the first snap to the last, the Raiders were terrorizing Jackson. And they did it with a three-man rotation. Clelin Ferrell and Malcolm Koonce were both healthy scratches for the game, so the Raiders took the field with three active edge defenders. That was it. Just Maxx Crosby on one side, Yannick Ngakoue on the other, and Carl Nassib rotating in. And that trio never let up and never tired.

“For us we stay ready. We push each other every single day, so no matter who’s going to be up, we’re going to be ready,” said Crosby. “It was amazing. I don’t even know how many snaps we played, I really don’t know, but everybody was ready when their name was called. That was super encouraging to see and I think we did a great job today.”

As he has for the past two seasons, Crosby led the way for the Raiders. The third-year edge rusher had three sacks on Jackson, though he was only credited – at least initially – with two. Crosby is known for his energy and he was on another level in this game.

The 24-year-old was named a captain for this game, which he considered a tremendous honor. One Crosby had not had at any level. His head coach has not held back in his praise of Crosby’s work ethic and getting the Captain badge was the result of that.

“Maxx backed it up,” Gruden said after the game. “You do it day after day after day and you get an opportunity in prime time to show where you are, I thought he showed some things tonight.”

The past couple seasons, Crosby has basically gone at it alone. He was able to put up 17 sacks despite a lack of help on the other side and in the middle. He has that help now with Ngakoue, who, not coincidentally, was named a captain as well.

“It’s just a different shift, a different mindset ever since guys like Yannick got here,” tight end Darren Waller said after some impressive defensive play Monday Night. “Just the mindset that he brings every single day, it’s just like we’ll go out there and be a force and guys are starting to buy into that. You can tell they are just playing simple football and flying around. So, I’m very happy for them.”

Late in the game, Maxx would lose his fellow defensive captain to a hamstring injury. Stepping up as Nassib who came in and they didn’t seem to miss a beat. Then the game went to overtime. And wouldn’t you know it, the biggest play of the overtime period was made by Nassib, who got into the backfield and laid a hard sack on Jackson, knocking the ball out and giving it back to the Raiders. Two plays later, Carr found Zay Jones for the game-winning touchdown.

“It was big. He made a big play at the end of the game,” Gruden said of Nassib. “Gerald McCoy got hurt, Yannick was out, (we were) playing Lamar Jackson. I mean this guy is a magician back there. He creates so much offense unscripted. Gus Bradley did a great job, he and his staff. And it’s a credit to Rod Marinelli and certainly Carl Nassib, he’s had a great training camp and we’re going to need him obviously going forward.”

We could soon know the exact severity of Ngakoue’s hamstring injury and if it will cost him any time. If he is lost, it would obviously be a big blow, especially considering how good the pass rush looked with him in the game last night. As Gruden noted, it would fall to Nassib to be the guy and continue to play like he did late against the Ravens. And Clelin Ferrell would be the third edge defender rotating in.

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