After the Raiders surrendered more than 200 yards rushing to the Jets and Colts in consecutive weeks, head coach Jon Gruden decided to fire defensive coordinator Paul Guenther shortly after Sunday’s game.
Gruden addressed the move on Monday, saying it was a difficult decision in part because Guenther is a good friend.
“It was very hard to do,” Gruden said. “But I really feel for the best interest of this team right now, we need a new voice. We need somebody who has a different perspective, a different approach.”
That will come from Rod Marinelli, who joined Las Vegas’ staff as defensive line coach in the offseason after seven seasons with the Cowboys. Marinelli was previously Gruden’s assistant head coach/defensive line coach with the Buccaneers from 2002-2005.
“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, the building of this defense, putting it all together. That’s why we brought him here in the first place, so it’d certainly help if his soldiers got healthy up front. But he’s got great experience and has a great amount of experience in situations like this.”
In nearly three seasons with the Raiders, Guenther’s defenses have ranked No. 32, No. 24, and No. 30 in points allowed.
Marinelli may be a new voice, but he doesn’t have much time to make adjustments for the 7-6 club. The Raiders play the Chargers this week on Thursday Night Football.