Nobody will deny the fact the Las Vegas Raiders defense has struggled throughout the 2020 season. It’s true some of their woes have to do with the personnel. However, former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther didn’t put his players in a position to succeed and should be held accountable for his lack of results. Now that Rod Marinelli oversees the unit, things could take a turn in the last two weeks of the season, and his most recent comments show the change in the approach he will use for the remainder of the season.
This Las Vegas team will put an emphasis on execution
Marinelli said in a recent sit-down with the local media that he saw improvement and fight in this week’s practices. He likes what he sees, but the only way to really quantify their progress will be winning in Week 16. Later in the conference, he pointed out that he will keep coaching his players, make sure their alignments are right. More importantly, he believes in the men he’s coaching, something his predecessor didn’t seem to do.
The Raiders will face a tough Miami Dolphins team that is vying for a playoff spot, and if Las Vegas wants to avoid becoming roadkill, they will need their defense to hold their ground and generate enough stops to help the offense. We don’t know what to expect, but Marinelli’s comments are reassuring.
Marinelli is the right man to lead the Raiders defense
Marinelli’s words may sound like common sense or even cliche’. Nevertheless, the Raiders’ defense under Gunther was an undisciplined bunch that lacked direction. Somewhere out there, there may be a recording of the former defensive coordinator holding himself responsible for the team’s defensive woes, but more often than not, he let the players shoulder the burden.
Now that Marinelli is at the helm, things should change. He puts a premium on fundamentals and teaching. If you listen to him, you will always hear discipline and mentoring his players. It’s true that the defense didn’t perform much better the week after the team fired Guenther, but Marinelli only had three days to prepare. Heading into Week 16, he had more time to implement changes and put his stamp on the Raiders’ defensive unit.
It’s uncertain if Marinelli will have a lasting impact. After all, he was given a bad and is in a mere three-week tryout to show he can get the defense to take off. However, if the unit shows signs of growth in this stretch, the organization should consider removing the interim tag from Marinelli’s job description.
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