Oakland Raiders Fire Brentson Buckner; Hire Rod Marinelli

Brentson Buckner
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 22: Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli of the Dallas Cowboys looks on prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 22, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

To the surprise of many, the Oakland Raiders have fired defensive line coach Brentson Buckner and hired seasoned coordinator Rod Marinelli to replace him.

Hired to replace Mike Trgovac after he was promoted to Senior Defensive Assistant at the conclusion of the 2018 season, Buckner came to Oakland after spending one season as the Defensive Line coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and five seasons before that holding the same position with the Arizona Cardinals. Buckner was brought in to improve a defensive line that finished the 2018 season with an abysmal 13 sacks.

Oakland Raiders Fire Brentson Buckner, Hire Rod Marinelli

This season, with the drafting of first-round rookie Clelin Ferrell and fourth-round rookie Maxx Crosby, Buckner was given the task of developing these players and improving the impact the defensive line group had as a whole. Many would consider his brief tenure in Oakland a success, as the Raiders improved from 13 sacks to 32, and went from 30th against the run to 8th.

Veteran coach and coordinator, Rod Marinelli, is being brought in to replace him. Marinelli began his professional coaching career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in 1996 under Tony Dungy. He was most recently the defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys; a position he held there since 2014.

While this might seem like a confusing firing and hiring process on the surface, there may be more to this than meets the eye. Current Defensive Coordinator, Paul Gunther, has been rumored to be on the hot seat after the Raiders defense concluded another season in which they gave up 350 plus points. Marinelli has had success running a defense and would be prime to take over Gunther’s responsibilities if the Raiders’ defense were to come out the gate cold again next season. This might not be a popular decision amongst the Raider faithful, but it could end up being the coaching steal of the offseason when all is said and done.

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