With less time left forward than behind this season, the Raiders are approaching the end of their regular-season schedule. With three games left, they must pull together and play exception football — especially on defense.
With that in mind, the Raiders have decided to go into a different direction with Rod Marinelli as the interim defensive coordinator for the remainder of the season. Marinelli takes on the task of preparing a defense on a short week ahead of the Chargers on Thursday Night Football.
"We’re going to get it done. I don’t care who’s up, who’s not." Rod Marinelli
It's no secret the Raiders are battling injuries to several starters who have not been able to practice this week. While many might be petrified in a situation such as this, Marinelli has seen it all in his 40-plus years coaching, and he's adamant on doing the best with what he's got at his disposal.
"We feel we got a good handle on who's up, and I think at that point you show belief in men," said Marinelli in his first press conference as interim defensive coordinator. "And we're going to get it done. I don't care who's up, who's not. But the non-talented things, the things that take no talent: effort, hustle, knowing exactly what to do, being discipline, staying onsides. That takes no talent. That just takes guys that want to. I'm going to build off of want-to this week."
"It's a short week, but that's what I enjoy and rally men around, to really go play hard and fast in any circumstances."
Despite what results come moving forward, Marinelli's main objective is to make sure that his young defensive core can progress and play fundamentally sound football to end the season.
"I'd start with game one right now. I want to see discipline, knowing exactly what we're doing. Know exactly. It takes no talent; I keep saying that. And I want to see great energy and great tackling, and gang tackling. Guys are hustling to the ball, and I think when you see that, they enjoy it. And I just want to see that part of it — that we really enjoy this game. And you can't enjoy it just one or two guys, it's got to be a team defense. And defense is about team — quick, fast and physical.
"Quick, fast and physical. That's what I keep preaching and we'll see."
Marinelli and the Silver and Black will need to play inspiring football on Thursday, as their playoff hopes may very well rely on them winning out the rest of the season.
View assistant photographer Matt Aguirre's best photos from Allegiant Stadium's catwalk during the Las Vegas Raiders matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.