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Hungry for win, Raiders look to feast on rookie QB

The Raiders are hungry for a win after getting their first taste of defeat this season in Los Angeles against the Chargers last week.

It’s a good time to have a rookie quarterback on the menu for a ravenous Raiders defensive line looking to feast.

Defensive end Maxx Crosby believes his group is poised to make life difficult for Bears starter Justin Fields when the game kicks off at Allegiant Stadium at 1:05 p.m. Sunday, but they have to take care of the little things first.

“We talk all the time in the defensive line room that it’s all about us no matter who we’re playing,” Crosby said. “We obviously watch the film and see what we see, but it starts with us. It starts with our get-off, getting after the quarterback consistently, stopping the run and then feasting. That’s what we have to do, no matter who the opponent is. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

The plan has worked. Crosby leads the league in quarterback pressures with 30 and in pass rush win rate at 29.3 percent, according to Pro Football Focus.

He’s also the site’s second-highest graded edge rusher.

He will look to get after Fields, who is making his third start and first since being named the full-time quarterback by coach Matt Nagy, on Sunday.

His first came against a very good Browns defense and was historically bad. Fields showed improvement last week in a win over the Lions, with several big plays mixed with some ugly ones.

It’s the kind of inconsistency the Bears can probably expect as Fields figures out the league. The Raiders hope to create more downs than ups on Sunday.

Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley knows the biggest change Fields brings to the Bears’ offense is the potential for dynamic plays downfield.

“He keeps getting better,” Bradley said. “Very athletic, very strong. Throws a really good deep ball. He looks downfield when he’s scrambling and getting away from the rush. So he’s been impressive.

“I think the biggest stat is they’ve had like 14 or 15 explosive plays on the year, which is down, but last week they had seven when he was at quarterback. So he’s a guy that can definitely stretch the field on us.”

But he is still a rookie. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr knows all too well the difficulty of learning on the job at one of the most difficult positions in all of sports.

He started all 16 games for the Raiders in 2014 after being drafted out of Fresno State, finishing with a career low in QBR and limping to a 3-13 record.

Carr raves about Fields’ potential but acknowledges NFL defenses get excited about welcoming rookies to the league.

“I don’t know if they smell blood in the water, but it’s just a fact for any rookie,” Carr said. “Every game I was going into I knew I was seeing something new every time, and so he’ll see a new coverage or new blitz or a new thing.”

One of the many lessons Carr has learned in his eight seasons is how to deal with losses, an ability that has come in handy this week after the Chargers handed the Raiders their first loss Monday night.

“Well, it still sucks,” he said. “I don’t kick my dog. I think I handle it honestly better. It’s not easier to handle now, but I think I go through my process better.

“Even after wins really, you just replay the things that didn’t go right. … It still hurts. It still pains my heart. I get frustrated. Maybe my wife says I get a little quiet. But you’d rather win that’s for sure.”

Carr and his teammates have a chance to do that Sunday and have the right matchup to make it happen.

Now it’s time to eat.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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