It’s never a dull moment as a Raider fan, as the news cycle just keeps on spinning. In a shocking move the Raiders have announced that defensive line coach Brenston Buckner has been fired.
The move comes as a surprise because Buckner was credited with aiding the development of rookies Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell, not to mention the overall play of the defensive line was much better in 2019. Drastic improvements were made in the sack total as well as run defense.
In 2019, the run defense ranked eighth in the league at 98 yards allowed per game, down from a horrendous 140.6 yards allowed the season prior. And the embarrassing sack total of 13 from a year ago jumped to 32.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden has fired respected defensive line coach Brenston Buckner and is expected to replace him with Rod Marinelli. Under Buckner, the Raiders improved from 13 sacks in 2018 to 32 this year, and from 30th against the run to 8th.— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) January 14, 2020
Coach Buck was one of the stars last summer on HBO’s Hard Knocks, with his tell it like it is, no-nonsense style of coaching.
Buckner will be replaced by former Cowboys defensive coordinator (2014-2019), Rod Marinelli. Marinelli was let go with the firing of Jason Garrett, and so it’s possible that Gruden saw Marinelli as an upgrade over Buckner.
While calling the shots for the Cowboys defense in 2018, they ranked sixth in points allowed per game, seventh in total yards, and fifth against the run. In 2019, the Cowboys were a boarderline top 10 defense, finishing 11th in points allowed per game, ninth in total yards allowed, and tenth in passing defense. Certainly there isn’t the talent on the Raiders roster that Marinelli had in Dallas, but he is a veteran coach in the league since 1996.
The Gruden and Marinelli relationship goes back to their days in Tampa Bay when the two won a Super Bowl together, with Marinelli as the assistant head coach and defensive line coach for Gruden.
Life as an NFL coach is a rough business. Despite being let go, Buckner should land on his feet in no time.