Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is reportedly making a major staff change. According to NFL.com’s Jim Trotter, Gruden has dismissed defensive line coach Brentson Buckner after only one season.
Gruden will reportedly hire veteran NFL assistant Rob Marinelli to replace Buckner. The 70-year-old Marinelli spent the last six seasons as the defensive line coach and defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys.
As Trotter explains, Buckner is well-regarded, having been an NFL defensive line coach the last seven seasons after playing more than a decade in the league. The Raiders’ defensive front also seemed to improve under his tutelage in 2019.
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
However, Gruden has great familiarity with Marinelli, who was his assistant head coach & defensive line coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2002-05.
Last week, NFL.com reporter Jane Slater posted an update on Marinelli after it was clear the Cowboys were shaking up their staff following the hiring of new head coach Mike McCarthy. According to Slater, Marinelli was considering continuing to coach but had made no final decision.
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This one is hard for me to report. #Cowboys DC Rod Marinelli tells me he’s made no decision about his future but with a move in a different direction on defense clear he tells me “Only thing I know is they can’t send me back to Vietnam, after that it’s cake. Outlook is always forward.” We shared a laugh on that. I can’t say enough about this coach. He is so incredibly proud and empowering to both his players and those around him. He put me in touch with his daughters because he thought it important I meet other hardworking women in male dominated businesses. He encouraged me to be great and always report the right way. I have all the respect in the world for you and appreciate your mentorship. You are a rare breed coach. Your family will always be special to me and a reminder to fans that while this is a business, it’s also about relationships.
The last time Gruden and Marinelli worked together, they helped deliver a Super Bowl title to Tampa in 2002. With the Raiders scheduled to be on the move to Las Vegas next season, there is pressure on Gruden to win more.
Oakland finished 7-9 under Gruden this fall after going 4-12 in 2018.