The end to the 2016-17 season for the Oakland Raiders was surely filled with disappointment, but it also set the stage for a resurgent next season. Without quarterback Derek Carr, head coach Jack Del Rio and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave were left with a rookie quarterback making his first career start.
Ultimately, the Raiders lost to the Houston Texans in the AFC Wild Card round, as their return to greatness came to an abrupt end. Alas, the Raiders now have a chance to enter the offseason and bolster their roster for the 2017 season.
Sometimes, an organization must make changes to their coaching staff before they make additions to the roster. That dream came to fruition early on, as it appeared as though the team was moving on from Musgrave, in favor of Todd Downing. For those who don’t know, Downing was an emerging candidate in the organization, with a special connection with Derek Carr.
The player and coach are consistently seen together on the field, conversing and talking football. Carr credited Downing for his improvement this season, as the presumed franchise quarterback is now anxious to return next season.
When Carr suffered that unfortunate injury, Downing was immediately seen leading the group prayer on the field for his quarterback. The pair has made enough of a connection that the Raiders felt Downing’s promotion would leave them in better favor moving forward.
Downing has resided in the organization for three seasons, with 17 seasons of NFL experience. Carr has reached two straight Pro Bowls under the guidance of Downing, while turning into a NFL MVP candidate this season.
Although Musgrave did feature a top-10 ranked offense in the NFL this season, his expiring contract gave Del Rio and the organization an opportunity to move on. Musgrave wasn’t in the unemployment office long, as the Denver Broncos hired Musgrave as the quarterbacks coach.
While Downing was promoted to offensive coordinator, assistant quarterbacks coach Jake Peetz was also promoted, as he now resides as the lone quarterbacks coach. Peetz joined the Raiders as an offensive assistant in 2015, working under the supervision of Downing.
Peetz has nine years of NFL experience, while emerging from the college scene as a noted offensive mind. The new promotion of Downing and Peetz certainly leaves the Raiders in better favor with Carr, as they enter a offseason where Carr is slated for free agency.