Raiders to be without four defensive starters against Chargers

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Raiders to be without four defensive starters against Chargers

The Las Vegas Raiders have ruled out for defensive starters for Thursday Night Football as defensive end Clelin Ferrell, linebacker Nicholas Morrow, cornerback Damon Arnette and safety Johnathan Abram won't be suiting up for the game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Ferrell is dealing with a shoulder injury, while Morrow, Arnette and Abram are still in the concussion protocol. "We've just got to have guys step up," Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said, per ESPN. "Carl Nassib will come back in the lineup [at defensive end].

I'm sure he'll play good. We're anxious to see [safety] Dallin Leavitt play. [Defensive back] Daryl Worley's back; he's been a quick study. "So, it's the next-man-up mentality. I know you've heard it a lot from me and a lot of coaches in this league, but that's the truth."

Not an ideal start for the new Raiders' defensive coordinator

After surrendering 44 points to the Indianapolis Colts in a 44-27 loss, the Raiders fired defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and promoted Rod Marinelli to the position.

"Knowing exactly what we're doing," Marinelli said. ".. 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."

Raiders head coach Gruden is confident that the players will respond well to the interim defensive coordinator Marinelli and leave it all out on the field against the Chargers. "Everybody responds well to Rod," Gruden said of Marinelli, who was elevated from defensive line coach.

"They have before. It's not like he's a new guy coming in here. He gets the correct response, a lot of respect. I think people trust him. He'll do a good job. It will be a tall order for him, obviously, in our defense, but I know we're looking forward to the challenge.

We've got a lot of respect for the Chargers. "We're not going to go in the tank. We're going to stay strong mentally here, and we're going to keep getting better and better and better and do the best we can every single time out."