HENDERSON, Nev. – The Las Vegas Raiders will be on defense without four regulars for Thursday night’s important home game against the Los Angeles Chargers – a mixed start for the new interim defense coordinator, Rod Marinelli.

Defensive back Clelin Ferrell (shoulder), linebacker Nicholas Morrow (concussion), corner Damon Arnett (concussion) and fullback Jonathan Abram (concussion) will all be absent, Raiders coach Jon Gruden said Wednesday.

With debutant Henry Ruggs on the roster/COVID-19, four of the Raiders’ five first-round picks in the last two years have been out of reach in Las Vegas (7-6) when it comes to maintaining their playoff hopes against the Chargers (4-9). Josh Jacobs, the fifth lap down, has an ankle injury.

  • Raiders rule out defensive starters Clelin Ferrell, Nicholas Morrow, Damon Arnette, Johnathan Abram vs. Chargers
  • Raiders rule out defensive starters Clelin Ferrell, Nicholas Morrow, Damon Arnette, Johnathan Abram vs. Chargers

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We just need the boys to bond, Gruden said. Carl Nassib will return to action [defensive]. I’m sure he’ll play well. We can’t wait to see Dallin Levitt play. Daryl Worley’s back. He’s a quick learner.

So that’s the next person’s mentality. I know you’ve heard it many times from me and many coaches in this league, but it’s true.

Gruden said that Tuck McKinley’s recently signed defensive goal will not be used in the game against the Chargers. Gruden hopes for the Raiders game against the Miami Dolphins in week 26. December to be an active participant.

Marinelli, who replaced Paul Guenther, said Tuesday that he wanted the defense to be disciplined.

Marinelli said she knew exactly what we were doing. … I want to see a great energy and a great solution. And the gang war. The boys are frolicking for the ball, and I think if you see that, they’ll like it. And I just want to see this part… that we really love this game. And you can’t enjoy it, just one or two guys, it has to be a team defense.

And the defense is a team – fast and physical. Fast, fast and physical. I keep preaching that, and we’ll see.

In the loss of Sunday 44-27 to the Indianapolis Colts, the Raiders’ defence could only get one QB hit – no sacks – on Philip Rivers, who was struggling with toes.

The key for the Raiders is to get a pass from the starting quarterback of the Chargers, Justin Herbert, and keep it in the pocket. Herbert ran for 326 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 24 yards against the Raiders in a 31-26 win at Las Vegas week 8. November in Inglewood, California.

Everyone responded well to Rod, said Gruden of Marinelli, who was promoted to coach the line of defense. I used to. It’s not like he came here as a rookie. He gets the right answer, great respect. I think people trust him. He’ll be fine. It will be an important task for him, of course for our defense, but I know we look forward to the challenge. We have great respect for the chargers.

We’re not going in the tank. We’re going to stay here mentally strong, and we’re going to get better and better, and we’re going to give the best of ourselves every time.

Marinelli, 71, has put aside questions about his age and his desire to retain the position of defense coordinator in Las Vegas after this season.

All I do now is work, he said. I work out, people raise that age. … I want to see them crawl into my shoes and drink my juice, okay? And I like it, so I never look over it. I just want to do a good job right now, and it’s our job to help these people. That’s my job. Let’s just close this place down and get out of here.

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