The Raiders fired defensive line coach Brentson Buckner on Tuesday, but nothing will erase the contributions he made to this organization in 2019.
When the Oakland Raiders hired Brentson Buckner for the 2019 NFL season, it seemed like a perfect fit. Buckner, who grew up a Raiders fan, got right to work, instilling incredible work ethic in his players, and really turned around a group that was a laughingstock the year before.
Not only did Buckner more than double the Raiders sack total from 2018, going from 13 to 32, but he also had them playing at a high level against the run. This was a top-10 defense against the run in 2019, and he made it work with mostly young players like Clelin Ferrell, P.J. Hall, Maxx Crosby, and Maurice Hurst.
The young guys bought into what he was saying, and that helped them grow immensely as players, and people. Remember, the fourth-round pick Crosby may have been the steal of the draft, racking up double-digit sack totals in his first season in the league.
Players like Crosby, Ferrell, Hurst, and Hall will be cornerstones for this defensive line for years to come, and their style of play has Buckner written all over it. This was a group that challenged each other, played the game with incredible passion, and that kind of togetherness will continue now that the team is moving to Las Vegas.
In his place, the Raiders have hired former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, who coached with Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay. During their time with the Bucs, Marinelli was also Gruden’s defensive line coach, and he could be a defensive coordinator-in-waiting if Paul Guenther continues to struggle in 2020.
In fact, during his time in Tampa Bay with Gruden, he actually served as an assistant head coach, so there is definitely a solid relationship there between he and the head coach of the Silver and Black.
Buckner was a key member of Raider Nation, and for us fans of the team, he will sorely be missed. He stepped into a tough situation and was able to make the Raiders defensive line actually competitive in 2019, and based on what he did with these young players this past season, his contributions to this organization will live on now that he is gone.