There are some major changes happening to the Las Vegas Raiders coaching staff but some people are staying on. Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli could’ve had a chance to keep his job on the new staff but the team has been making changes to the defense with the hire of Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator. Marinelli is one of the most respected defensive coaches in the NFL and certainly would’ve landed a new job had he wanted to.
However, it looks like the 72-year-old is ready to take it easy. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Marinelli is planning to retire.
Marinelli has been an NFL coach since 1996 when he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the defensive line coach. He’s worn many hats over his career, including a stint as the Detroit Lions head coach from 2006 to 2008. He went 10-38 in three seasons as a head coach but has always been a strong defensive mind. He led some very strong defenses when he was the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears and then the Dallas Cowboys. Marinelli was a veteran of the Vietnam War and was famous for being a hardnosed coach, which he likely learned from his days in the military.
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Maxx Crosby Reacts to News
When the Raiders first hired Marinelli in 2020, they had to fire Brenston Buckner, who was a well-liked coach. It ended up being a smart move as the coach was instrumental in helping develop a very good defensive line in Las Vegas. Maxx Crosby went from a solid defensive end over his first two seasons to one of the best in the NFL in 2021. He had a great relationship with Marinelli and proclaimed that he’s the “greatest to ever to do it.”
Marinelli did a great job with the Raiders defensive line so now is a good time to pass the torch. The team has yet to hire a new defensive line coach but the group should be in good hands.
New Raiders DC Has DL Background
Though the Raiders are losing Marinelli, the defensive line shouldn’t be worried. Graham, the new defensive coordinator, has a background as a defensive line coach. He has previously served that role with the New England Patriots and New York Giants. The Raiders will eventually hire a defensive line coach but the group is in a position to succeed.
The team is set with two good, young defensive ends in Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue but there are concerns in the interior. Defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins, Solomon Thomas, Darius Philon and Quinton Jefferson are all free agents. The Raiders’ run defense and interior pass rush were lacking this season so it’s an area they should upgrade. Keeping Hankins around would be a smart move but Las Vegas could move on from the other three. Regardless, the Raiders’ defensive line is in a much better place than it was just a few years ago.