Jon Gruden explains why he fired DC Paul Guenther

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders

The Raiders defense has been poor all season, and the team getting shredded by the Colts on Sunday, to the tune of 37 points given up, appeared to be the tipping point for Jon Gruden and Co.

Las Vegas ranks 25th in total defense, giving up an average of 384.2 yards per game. It’s even worse from a points perspective, as the Raiders are 30th in that area (30.1 points per game).

Sunday’s 44-27 beating by the Colts was the end of the line for Paul Guenther, as the Raiders relieved the defensive coordinator of his duties. It probably produced an uncomfortable moment, as he and general manager Mike Mayock are close friends.

Gruden explained why he made the decision during a press conference on Monday.

“Its a very tough decision we made,” Gruden said. “Paul is a great friend and a great coach. He’s given great effort here for two and a half years. And it’s a very tough circumstance. With the COVID players coming and going, all the injuries, we need a new voice right now. And I think it will help Paul in the long run probably getting away from me. But certainly, he’s a great coach, we thank him for everything that he has done.”

He also spoke about promoting former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to be a “new voice” in the building.

“We need a new voice right now. I think we need a new energy and with three games left, we’re going to let Rod Marinelli call the plays,” Gruden continued. “He’s experienced doing that. We have a good staff, we have a lot of young players, and we want to service those young players the best we can with a new voice, a new energy and a guy that’s had a lot of experience in some tough situations.”

It sure looks like Guenther was the fall guy, and the issue was the personnel, not the scheme. There just isn’t much talent to speak of on the defensive side of the ball.

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