First, Brentson Buckner earned a starring role on "Hard Knocks." Then, he guided the defensive line to greater heights in 2019, coaching the unit to 32 sacks after it produced a league-low 13 in 2018.
But none of that mattered to Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, who has reportedly dismissed his defensive line coach and will replace him with Rod Marinelli, a longtime defensive coach – who has worked with Gruden previously. Marinelli, the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator in 2019, was out of a job when the Cowboys recently let head coach Jason Garrett go.
The news of Buckner’s firing was first reported Tuesday by NFL.com’s Jim Trotter, who also reported Marinelli would replace him.
Buckner, a former NFL defensive lineman who played 12 years in the league before retiring after the 2005 season, previously had coached with the Cardinals and Buccaneers before coming to the Raiders in January of 2019. This season, he worked with rookies Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby and led the unit to improvement.
It not only climbed in sack total, but went from 30th against the run in 2018 to eighth in 2019.
Buckner got plenty of camera time during HBO’s "Hard Knocks" this past summer, for the way he tried to pump up his players and counsel them on life lessons. He exuded positivity. And, even after learning of his release Tuesday, Buckner wrote on Twitter that he wasn’t bitter at all.
Tweeted Buckner: "God doesn’t make mistakes. When He decides my time is up, I don’t question it. I was blessed to coach a great group of Raiders. I had the pleasure of experiencing RAIDER NATION! I’m appreciative for Gruden blessing me with that opportunity! #FAITHBEFOREFAME 1love! No hate."
Marinelli, who is 70, was Gruden’s assistant head coach/defensive line coach in Tampa Bay when the Bucs won the Super Bowl. He’s a longtime NFL assistant defensive coach and was head coach of the Detroit Lions for three seasons.