Rod Marinelli doesn’t have much time to fix all the problems on the Las Vegas Raiders defense.
Marinelli was promoted from defensive line coach to interim defensive coordinator after Paul Guenther was fired Sunday and has just three days to make his mark before the Raiders host the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night.
“I think we’ve got a package established,” Marinelli said Tuesday. “It’s really hard within a day or two and a few walkthroughs to get everything done. So we’ve got our system and we just kind of constantly work on refining certain things that we do well and things that we believe in.”
When asked what the defense did well, Marinelli gave no specifics, instead talking about the need to work together, have discipline, play fast and “hit like a Raider.”
The Raiders (7-6) haven’t done much well in recent weeks, or even in nearly three full seasons with Guenther in charge. Las Vegas has allowed at least 200 yards rushing in back-to-back games, leading to a 44-27 loss last week to Indianapolis that ultimately cost Guenther his job.
In nearly three full seasons with Guenther running the defense, the Raiders ranked last in points allowed per game (28.4), last in sacks (60), 31st in yards per play allowed (6.04), 30th in takeaways (47) and 29th in passer rating against.
“It’s not been good enough,” Marinelli said. “Coach or player hasn’t been good enough yet. I just keep believing in these men. I just know if you just keep driving it and pushing it, we’ll have the results. Because they work every second of every day. I think it starts with the belief and I have a strong belief in them.
The 71-year-old Marinelli is in his 48th season as a coach, with the past 24 coming in the NFL where he helped guide talented linemen like Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice and Julius Peppers over the years.
He was on coach Jon Gruden’s staff in Tampa Bay when the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl following the 2002 season and reunited with him this past offseason after spending the past six years as defensive coordinator in Dallas.
“I think he’s one of the great teachers and great motivators and great people that I’ve met in this business,” Gruden said. “He looks forward to adversity, he thrives in it. I think he looks forward to these challenges of building this defense and putting it all together. That’s why we brought him here in the first place.”
But Marinelli has made little positive impact so far this season as the defensive line has struggled to generate a consistent pass rush or stop the run.
Along with the short week, starting defensive tackle Maliek Collins is on injured reserve and four other starters are dealing with injuries that could sideline them this week.
Safety Johnathan Abram, cornerback Damon Arnette and linebacker Nicholas Morrow all missed practice Tuesday with concussions and neck injuries. Defensive end Clelin Ferrell also missed practice after leaving Sunday’s game after seven snaps with a shoulder injury.
“I don’t care who’s up, who’s not,” Marinelli said. “The nontalent things, the things that take no talent, effort, hustle, knowing exactly what to do, being disciplined, staying onside, that takes no talent. That just takes guys that want to. I’m going to build off the want to this week.”
NOTES: The Raiders placed rookie WR Henry Ruggs III on the COVID-19 list. ... WR Byran Edwards (not injury related) also missed practice. ... The Raiders signed DE Vic Beasley to the active roster, opened DE Takk McKinley’s 21-day practice window off IR and signed WR Marcell Ateman to the practice squad.
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