The Las Vegas Raiders hired defensive line coach Rod Marinelli with the intention of improving their front four. So far, players approve the move, and defensive end Arden Key is the latest to endorse the coaching addition.
The Raiders must create pressure upfront
The Raiders sack total went from 13 in 2018 to 32 last season. There were definitely signs of progress, but not enough. After all, only seven teams had fewer sacks than the Silver and Black in 2019. Thus, it wasn’t surprising to not just see them sign defensive end Carl Nassib and Maliek Collins, but to bring Marinelli aboard too.
So far, pretty much all Raiders defensive linemen are happy with Marinelli’s hiring. Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst compares Marinelli’s style to the military while defensive end Maxx Crosby likes the intensity the coach brings.
Key is the latest Raiders player to give Marinelli a glowing review. In his latest press conference, the third-year defensive end says Marinelli is the father figure everyone needs. He says that their relationship is based on reciprocity and that everyone benefits from it.
“I can’t put it in words. He’s just like the grandfather that you always wanted. Who gives you whatever you want, but asks a lot from you. He asks a lot from us, he knows what he’s talking about.”
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The LSU product knows that Marinelli’s tough-love approach will pay off. One gleam at the coach’s past work is enough for Key to trust the approach.
“He coached a lot of Hall of Fame guys, a lot of guys that [will] soon to be in the Hall of Fame. His track record speaks for himself and I feel like the whole d-line has bought in. You really don’t have no choice but to buy in with a guy like coach Rod Marinelli because you know you’re going to get better, you know you’re going to get pushed.”
Key definitely needed a push after underperforming in his first two seasons in the NFL. The defensive end himself said he was going to change the way he did things and was going to do it the “Arden Key” way. At the moment, it sounded like just words, but all indications lead to him to walking the talk.
If Key ends up having a breakout year or becomes a key contributor, it will be because of his hard work, but Marinelli will surely have played a role in it.
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Top Photo: Chris Booker/Las Vegas Review-Journal