Raiders defensive coordinator, players comment on offseason growth

Jun 3, 2023, 8:00 AM

Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs and Maxx Crosby #98 of the Las Vegas Raiders talk on ...

Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs and Maxx Crosby #98 of the Las Vegas Raiders talk on the field during the first half of the game at Allegiant Stadium on January 07, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

Under Patrick Graham’s first year as the Las Vegas Raiders’ defensive coordinator, the team underperformed on the defensive level.

The team tied with the New York Giants for the fewest interceptions (6), allowed the third-fewest sacks (27) and allowed the fourth-most passing yards (4,129).

Knowing their deficiencies, the Raiders focused this offseason on improving their defense, using seven of their nine draft picks on defenders, including their first-round pick on Tyree Wilson, and signed safety Marcus Epps and cornerback Brandon Facyson to bolster their secondary.

But, one thing that can make them stronger as a unit is returning to the same defensive system in place for the first time in years. Defensive end Maxx Crosby said things are running “a lot smoother” this time around compared to last year.

READ MORE FROM SACTOWN SPORTS: Josh McDaniels has ‘no anxiety’ about Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury

“Last OTAs it was a lot. Obviously, Pat [Patrick Graham] was new. He was installing a bunch of new stuff trying to get everything in before we get to camp,” Crosby said. “So, everything was just like, you’re just learning and trying to just figure everything out on the fly. But now, having another year, being able to help the guys that just got in it’s going to help them as well.”

Defensive end Chandler Jones echoed those statements, adding that team activities like OTAs are where players start to build chemistry.

“You want to have the chemistry where I look to the guy next to me, and I won’t have to say anything, I can just give them a head nod and he knows exactly what that means,” Jones said. “That’s exactly the kind of things that you need to build around this time, because you won’t get that showing up in the fall. You have to do it now.”

Graham, who started his offseason as one of the coaches in the Senior Bowl, said he also spent the offseason “doing a lot of self-evaluation” and listening to the people in the organization.

“The best coaches I’ve been around, including Josh [McDaniels], including Bill [Belichick], they’re the best listeners I’ve ever been around,” Graham said. “And so, I had to listen, ‘Ok, you know, figure out what do we need to do for us this year. What’s going to be the best thing.’ And then to build that continuity, you got to put in work. No different than with my wife. We’re going on year 14, it still takes work. You got to put the work in, and we’re putting the work in right now. And then hopefully we see the rewards of that.”

READ MORE FROM SACTOWN SPORTS: NFL schedule release 2023: Las Vegas Raiders season breakdown

With stability in place, all are looking forward to a fresh start once the 2023 season gets underway.

“I’ve always thought when it comes to looking for success – and this in any aspect of life – but when you’re ever looking for success and you have things that are seasonal like football, for me it’s been very advantageous to just flush it and erase it,” Jones said. “Learn from your mistakes, see what you did wrong obviously, you don’t want to get burned twice, but flushing it. And like I said this is a fresh year, which I’m very excited about. We have a fresh team, a few new coaches sprinkled around, and I’m excited.”

Thank you for reading Follow us on Twitter, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.



Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates a first down against the New York Giants dur...

Amiliano Fragoso

Kyle Shanahan: Deebo Samuel cleared of rib injury in Thursday’s win

Kyle Shanahan gave an update on Deebo Samuel's health Friday, clearing tests of any significant rib injury from Thursday's game.

10 hours ago

Chris Stapleton performs the national anthem before Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs ...

Joseph Jarosz

Host thoughts: We’re ready for Monday Night Football’s new theme

Last Monday, ESPN debuted the new theme song for Monday Night Football. The song, a cover of Phil Collins' hit "In the Air Tonight" is performed by Chris Stapleton, Snoop Dogg, and Cindy Blackman Santana.

11 hours ago

San Francisco 49ers General Manager John Lynch congratulates head coach Kyle Shanahan after a win a...

Amiliano Fragoso

49ers announce contract extensions for Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch

The San Francisco 49ers announced Friday the contract extensions of head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch.

11 hours ago

Offensive tackle Daniel Brunskill #60 of the San Francisco 49ers throws a block against against saf...

Joseph Jarosz

Former NFL fullback on the similarities between Tomlinson and McCaffrey

Former Charger Lorenzo Neal compares Christian McCaffrey to his former teammate in San Deigo, Ladainian Tomlinson.

13 hours ago

Las Vegas Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers at the line of scrimmage during the fourth quarter at Acr...


Steelers, Raiders in similar positions entering Sunday night matchup

The similarities between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders are numerous. Both teams are 1-1, but could just as easily be 0-2 given their subpar performances. Neither side has been able to run the ball, the quarterback play has been erratic, the offensive lines have been suspect and each defense has at times been […]

15 hours ago

Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to throw a pass against the New York Giants during...

Amiliano Fragoso

Brock Purdy left with ‘bad taste’ in his mouth despite Week 3 win

Brock Purdy threw for a career high in passing yards Thursday night, but is still left disappointed at opportunities missed in Week 3.

15 hours ago

Raiders defensive coordinator, players comment on offseason growth