The Raiders fired defensive line coach Brentson Buckner and hired former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to take his place. If history is any indication, he will also replace incumbent Paul Guenther as soon as this year.
Last season, the Raiders eternal defensive woes continued and had a bad unit on the field in spite of drafting Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrell and Trayvon Mullen. Oakland’s defensive line was adequate and that’s why it was surprising to see players-favorite Buckner get fired. We may not know the reason for his dismissal, but it didn’t take long to see Marinelli take over.
It’s possible that we will never find out what triggered the change, but we do know that Marinelli has a superb track record developing front defenders. The former Lions head coach might be one of the worst head honchos in the history of the NFL, but he sure can make the most out of his defensive lines.
Related: Year in Review: Maxx Crosby
Back in his last college stop, Marinelli coached Darrell Russell and later became the Buccaneers defensive line coach, where he oversaw an elite unit that was part of team that would go on to win a Super Bowl. Putting aside his coaching work in Detroit, his tenure with both the Bears and the Cowboys showed that his work in Tampa wasn’t an outlier but rather the norm.
During his time with Dallas, Marinelli got the most out of mid-round players such as Maliek Collin, Tyrone Crawford, and Jack Crawford. Moreover, DeMarcus Lawrence broke out during Marinelli’s watch.
The Raiders already have a defensive coordinator, Paul Guenther, and he will likely be given more players to turn the team’s defense around, but if he fails, Marinelli could become the team’s defensive coordinator, in fact, this could be the third time he joins a team as their defensive line coach and ends up becoming their defensive coordinator. It happened with both the Bears and the Cowboys. Perhaps head coach Jon Gruden saw this pattern and thought something similar could happen with Las Vegas.
We don’t know if Paul Guenther will field a solid defense this upcoming season, but in case he doesn’t, history has already given us a glimpse of who his potential replacement may be.
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