After plenty of years of futility, the Las Vegas Raiders have taken the necessary steps to upgrade their defense. Slowly, they are putting together a solid unit and their young defensive linemen are getting positives reviews ahead of the 2020 season.
Can Las Vegas Raiders continue improving their sack totals in 2020?
After the Raiders traded EDGE Khalil Mack in 2018, their defensive line was bare in talent and was pushed around that year. For that reason, it wasn’t surprising to see general manager draft Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell. Together and in conjunction with sophomores Arden Key and Maurice Hurst, the defensive line increased their sack total from 10 to 32 last season.
Knowing the unit could perform even better, the Raiders hired defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. The Super Bowl-winning assistant has developed Pro Bowlers and All-Pro defensive linemen. So far, Crosby has talked about the intensity the coach brings while Hurst has praised his military-like style.
The players and coach enjoy working with each other
Just like Raiders players have shown an affinity for Marinelli, the coach has expressed he likes working with the bunch. In his latest press conference, he talked about how he enjoys working with them. Moreover, he talked about how they are building the foundation of a sturdy unit.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with them a lot. They got good talent, they got good movement. Just keep getting them locked in. The consistency of how we do things every second of every day. The consistency and then, when you get the consistency, you start building mental toughness, so that’s the thing I’m looking for. I think they have the skill, the work to improve their skill. So far, so good. I believe in them, they’re working hard.”
We need pay attention to Marinelli’s very last sentence. He’s right to point out that it’s early in the process and the Raiders are still in the process of putting a good unit together.
By all indications, Marinelli’s hiring has benefited everyone in the team. If the players and the defensive line coach continue to develop chemistry, they should continue trending up in 2020. There is no reason to doubt they can continue improving their sack totals and finish somewhere around 35 and 40. They have the players in place and the coach to make it possible.
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Top Photo: D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press