Since Jon Gruden returned to the Raiders as head coach in 2018, the Raiders’ defense has been an issue.
That came to a head in 2020, with Gruden firing defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in December. He’s since hired former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley to run the defense in 2021. But one of Las Vegas’ issues has been personnel.
In an interview with the Raiders’ official website this week, General Manager Mike Mayock was frank in what he saw as the biggest problem.
“The way we look at it, or at least the way I look at it, is last year we did not have a dynamic playmaker at any level,” Mayock said. “And that’s hard, when you go in a game every Sunday and they don’t have to specifically game plan for any one player.”
Mayock pointed to defensive end Maxx Crosby as someone who has the potential to become one of those guys. A 2019 fourth-round pick, he’s led the Raiders in sacks in each of his first two seasons with 10.0 as a rookie and 7.0 in 2020.
The G.M. also mentioned 2019 No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell, who has not produced at the expected level of a top-five pick with just 6.5 sacks in two years. But Mayock still said he feels Ferrell will “continue to develop.”
“It’s time for them to start playing,” Mayock said. “And at the end of the day, they need to be a lot more consistent. And, again, COVID year, a lot of injuries — I get it. But we’ve got to demand more from them next year.”
Mayock acknowledged he has to be better as well when it comes to identifying talent. The Raiders have gone 7-9 and 8-8 in his two seasons as G.M.