The Las Vegas Raiders fired popular defensive line coach Brentson Buckner but make the right call replacing him with Rod Marinelli
One of the standouts from the 2019 Hard Knocks season featuring the then Oakland Raiders was defensive line coach Brentson Buckner because of his one liners and engaging attitude, especially with the younger players. It turns out that in addition to being great on camera, Buckner was pretty good at this day job as well.
The Raiders had an embarrassingly bad pass rush in 2018 and Buckner, along with a slew of young d-lineman, was tasked with making major improvements and he did just that. Bucker and co went from just 13 sacks in 2018 to 32 in 2019 and from giving up 380 yards per game to a more respectable 354. So with all these improvements and clear strides being made by a group of young players, why did Buckner get the ax?
The answer to that is simple, Rod Marinelli is a better and more experienced coach and with all due respect to Buckner, has forgotten more about defense than Buckner has ever known. Without recapping his Wikipedia page or his resume, Marinelli has been in the NFL since 1996 and has been coaching at the college level or better since 1976.
Marinelli’s relationship with Jon Gruden dates back to their days in Tampa Bay where he was the Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Line Coach when the Buccaneers won their Super Bowl in 2003. He does of course have the massive blemish on his resume of the 0-16 season with the Detroit Lions in 2008 but the Raiders aren’t hiring him as the head honcho.
The main thing that Marinelli brings to the table, which is quite obvious, is his decades of experience coaching the defensive side of the ball. It’s not usual for a position group coach to be the most experienced coach on a team but surely his duties and knowledge will extend further than coaching the defensive line.
Another benefit to having Marinelli is the Raiders will have a replacement already in the building for Paul Guenther if the defense gets off to a poor start in 2020. While Buckner did a good job with the defensive line, there was no way the Raiders would have trusted him with the defense just yet.
Many of the fans, and surely the players, were sad to see the news of Buckner getting fired but the Raiders have upgraded that position and the coaching staff as a whole with the hiring of Rod Marinelli.