After being eliminated in the AFC Wild Card round, the Oakland Raiders’ tremendous 2016 season came to an end. Their return to greatness got started on the right foot, but Jack Del Rio and the roster now have some unfinished business to focus on for 2017.
However, when a season comes to an end, the organization and their head coach often have meetings to refocus and get on the same page. That sometimes means addressing areas that were a concern during the season.
The Raiders made headlines in the NFL on Tuesday, but in a shocking fashion. While many football aficionados expected defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. to be fired, the front office stated that offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was let go.
Although he headlined the sixth-ranked offense, Musgrave held an expiring contract and the Raiders’ brass decided it was time to move on. Reports state that current quarterback coach Todd Downing is in line to be the next offensive coordinator.
The move seems to make sense, seeing as how Downing is in good grace with almost free agent Derek Carr. Downing was climbing through the ranks of the organization, making a great impact on offense and their success.
On the other hand, Norton Jr.’s status remains in the air, as his defense didn’t fair as well as Musgrave’s offense did. However, it appears that Norton Jr. is expected to return to the Raiders next season, via Jimmy Durkin of the Bay Area News Group:
— Jimmy Durkin (@Jimmy_Durkin) January 10, 2017
During the 2016 season, the Raiders owned the 26th ranked defense, allowing 375.1 yards per game. They allowed 257.5 passing yards per game, which was ranked 24th in the NFL. In terms of rushing yards, they allowed 117.6 per game, which ranked 23rd.
While the Raiders did struggle all season on the defensive end, Norton Jr. does not deserve the full blame. Del Rio has his fingerprints all over the defensive schemes, with his own influence mixed in.
Norton Jr.’s job security was highly questioned when reports surfaced stating that Wade Phillips had been in talks with the Raiders about possibly joining the organization. Del Rio or the organization will likely make a public statement regarding his status coming up, in order to either announce or put to rest the rumors.