The Las Vegas Raiders opted to make some significant changes this week after parting ways with Paul Guenther as defensive coordinator.
Although the defense has largely struggled to find its footing throughout the course of the 2020 NFL season, the onus will now fall on interim coordinator Rod Marinelli to help finish things off on a high note.
Marinelli has not had time to make very many adjustments with the Raiders hosting the Las Vegas Chargers on Thursday Night Football. Fortunately, he already has a good idea of what to expect out of this group.
Marinelli feels it is important to maintain the focus on the little things, per Levi Edwards of the team’s website:
“We feel we got a good handle on who’s up, and I think at that point you show belief in men,” said Marinelli in his first press conference as interim defensive coordinator. “And we’re going to get it done. I don’t care who’s up, who’s not. But the non-talented things, the things that take no talent: effort, hustle, knowing exactly what to do, being disciplined, staying onsides. That takes no talent. That just takes guys that want to. I’m going to build off of want-to this week.”
“It’s a short week, but that’s what I enjoy and rally men around, to really go play hard and fast in any circumstances.”
Marinelli added that the focus is on taking things one game at a time and remaining disciplined to finish out the year:
“I’d start with game one right now. I want to see discipline, knowing exactly what we’re doing. Know exactly. It takes no talent; I keep saying that. And I want to see great energy and great tackling, and gang tackling. Guys are hustling to the ball, and I think when you see that, they enjoy it. And I just want to see that part of it — that we really enjoy this game. And you can’t enjoy it just one or two guys, it’s got to be a team defense. And defense is about team — quick, fast and physical.
“Quick, fast and physical. That’s what I keep preaching and we’ll see.”
There is no question that Marinelli and the Raiders have a tall task ahead of them if they hope to remain in the playoff picture. With their crucial loss last week, they are no longer in control of their own destiny.
Regardless, it is clear that Las Vegas is still adamant about making the necessary adjustments. Only time will tell if they come to fruition in the postseason.