Raiders sticking with 4-3 defense as search for new defensive coordinator starts now

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Levi Damien
·3 min read
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Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli stepped in at Defensive Coordinator when Paul Guenther was fired last month. A former DC himself, there was a question of whether Marinelli might be in line to keep the position next season, to which Marinelli himself simply said he will “just let things go as they go.”

It sounds as if Marinelli will return to being the team’s Defensive Line coach while Gruden looks outside for a new DC.

“We expect Rod to be a big part of this defense moving forward,” Gruden said when asked about Marinelli’s status. “I think he’s as good as there is, really on that side of the ball. He’s proved that for a long time. And yes, we’re going to begin our search tomorrow. We plan to move quickly and we’re excited about this process.”

Reports Monday morning were that the Raiders had officially asked permission to speak with Chargers’ defensive coordinator Gus Bradley following the firing of head coach Anthony Lynn.

Bradley was once on Gruden’s defensive staff in Tampa, and Gruden has proven time and time again that he likes to bring in coaches with whom he’s worked before. That philosophy would make Falcons’ DC Raheem Morris and Rams linebackers coach Joe Barry as potential candidates as well.

One question that comes up is what defense the Raiders wish to run, as that could lend a hint as to which candidate out there would be best suited for the job.

“We would like to be a 4-3 outfit,” Gruden stated bluntly. “Don’t get me wrong, we’d like to have some three-down elements and be multiple, but we want to play four bigs if we can.”

Gruden also went on to discuss exactly what qualities he’s looking for in a new DC.

“I think number one, great communication,” said Gruden. “A guy that can develop players, a man that will utilize his assistant coaches and allow them to express themselves and get more out of their units and a guy that has a history of success, a guy that has a great day-to-day work ethic and knowledge of the offenses that he has to stop. Somebody that can really adapt to Lamar Jackson and the style of offense they play to the next week where you got to get ready for Pat Mahomes and then it’s on to Phillip Rivers. There’s a lot of different variables that you have to deal with and adapt to. A people person, great drive and a real desire to be a Raider. I think there is a lot of criteria, but there’s some for you.”

He might want to throw Justin Herbert in there too, because he and Mahomes are going to be giving the Raiders problems for years to come.

It will be no small task what the Raiders’ new defensive coordinator has in front of him. There are a lot of big question marks facing this team and on of them is whether hiring a new DC can answer them.