Did Brentson Buckner Save Paul Guenther’s Job And Lose His Own in the Process?

Brentson Buckner was arguably the Raiders most accomplished position coach in 2019. Buckner brought charisma and attitude to a defense that needed both. More importantly, he vastly improved the Raiders defensive line.

But not only did Buckner preside over a solid defensive line and groom a strong defensive rookie of the year candidate in Maxx Crosby, but he managed to do it in front of one of the most ineffective linebacker and secondary groups in the NFL. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther had trouble getting any momentum on defense for most of the year and you could argue that he would have been the one fired if not for the solid play of Buckner’s defensive line this year.

Instead, Guenther will be back for a third year and the Raiders probably have his replacement in waiting in respected defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.

But you know what might have made more sense?

Fire Guenther and keep Buckner on the defensive line.

Instead, it seems inevitable that Marinelli will eventually end up being Jon Gruden’s defensive coordinator and by that time Buckner will be long gone. Maybe there are reasons why Marinelli wouldn’t be a fit at defensive coordinator right now (his tenure in Dallas had mixed reviews), but pairing him up with Guenther feels a little like what the Raiders did a few years ago, adding John Pagano to work alongside defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

By all means, do what it takes to build a great coaching staff, but the Raiders didn’t necessarily gain a lot this week considering the loss of Buckner. If Gruden had to find a way to bring Marinelli on board, it wouldn’t have hurt many feelings (on the outside at least) if he had replaced Guenther and kept Buckner.

Or none over here, at least…

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