Jon Gruden reportedly fires defensive line coach Brentson Buckner after 1 season in stunning move

The Raiders have fired defensive line coach Brentson Buckner after one season on the job, NFL Network’s Jim Trotter reports.

Head coach Jon Gruden made the decision and replaced Buckner with veteran NFL coach Rod Marinelli.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden has fired respected defensive line coach Brenston Buckner and is expected to replace him with Rod Marinelli. Under Buckner, the Raiders improved from 13 sacks in 2018 to 32 this year, and from 30th against the run to 8th.

— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) January 14, 2020

As Trotter points out, the Raiders saw tangible progress on the defensive line in Buckner’s year on the job.

Raiders’ progress under Buckner

The Raiders improved from last in the league with 13 sacks in 2018 to 24th with 32 in 2019. They also improved from 30th to eighth against the run, where they allowed just 98.1 yards per game on the ground last season, an improvement of better than 40 yards on average.

Buckner, 48, played in the league as a defensive lineman for 12 seasons from 1994 to 2005 and has worked as a defensive line coach in the NFL since 2013, where he started with the Arizona Cardinals. He spent 2018 on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff before joining the Raiders last season.

Buckner surprised by firing

Gruden reportedly told Buckner that his performance wasn’t the reason for the firing.

Brentson Buckner was surprised when he got the call today. The fired DL coach said Gruden told him, “‘I need to make a change. I need to make room for someone, it was nothing you did.’ And I thanked him for the opportunity.” #Raiders

— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) January 14, 2020

Marinelli, 70, was the head coach of the Detroit Lions from 2006 to 2008 and has spent the last six seasons as the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator.

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