Talk about a tough first assignment.
Interim Raiders defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Rod Marinelli will make his debut without four starters at his disposal in Thursday night’s matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Safety Johnathan Abram (concussion), defensive end Clelin Ferrell (shoulder), linebacker Nick Morrow (concussion) and cornerback Damon Arnette (concussion) were all officially declared out for Week 15 after missing all three of the team’s practices this week.
“We’re going to get it done,” Marinelli told reporters on Tuesday. “I don’t care who’s up, who’s not.”
Marinelli inherits a unit that gave up 30.1 points per game under ex-DC Paul Guenther this season, the third-highest total in the league. Now, Marinelli has got to stop the bleeding while short-handed on a short week, with the Raiders losing grasp of their fleeting playoff aspirations.
“You’ve got to be efficient with your time and efficient with your message,” Marinelli said. “It’s got to be clear and precise. … Quick, fast and physical, that’s what I keep preaching.”
The Raiders are particularly thin at the strong safety position without Abram and Jeff Heath, who was placed on the injured reserve earlier this week as he tries to recover from a concussion. Defensive back Daryl Worley is expected to see his first playing time this weekend after re-joining the Raiders a couple of weeks ago.
Linebacker Vic Beasley has been added to the 53-man roster off the practice squad, while defensive end Takk McKinley is eligible to return after a stint on injured reserve. Gruden has already singled both of them out this week as two guys who need to contribute on Thursday, as Marinelli will have to patch it together with a ragtag group of Raiders on defense.