Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing
The Oakland Raiders will have a new offensive coordinator at the helm next season, former quarterbacks coach Todd Downing. Wednesday afternoon, he hopped on a conference call with to the local media to talk about his new position on the coaching staff.
Here are the quick hits from his call:
**Downing opened up about the process of becoming the Raiders offensive coordinator, and his gratitude for the opportunity.
"At the end of the year, once our season was wrapped up after the Houston game, we had our year end wrap-up meetings with Coach Del Rio. Defensive staff went first, offensive staff was after that. It was shortly into the offensive staff portion of those meetings that he informed me of his intention to make the switch. I wouldn't characterize it as a surprise because I'm ready for anything that comes my way in this profession, but I was looking forward to the opportunity to run an offense somewhere in the NFL in 2017. I just feel really fortunate that Coach Del Rio has the trust in me, moving forward, to have that opportunity be here."
He broke down Derek Carr's growth at quarterback, and what they'll try to work on going forward.
"I think Derek made big strides in 2016, just in terms of his command of the offense, being the field general, being able to get through progressions more efficiently. His footwork took big strides. I certainly want him to remain focused on all of those attributes. You don't want to feel like you've arrived in a certain area of your game and then have it go backwards when the next season starts. Certainly, I want him focused on all of those. There's been a lot made about his command at the line of scrimmage. There's certainly going to be opportunities for Derek to do that. That's not something I feel we'll even have to get into until we're much further into this offseason and into training camp."
Downing shared that his experience gained as the team's quarterback coach will help him transition into his new position.
"I think working with the quarterback position as long as I have, you're kind of forced into knowing the whole offense and in part seeing the whole offense. Meaning, you get a feel for what good receiver play looks like. You get a feel for what a good running back looks like and offensive line and tight ends and so on. So, it's not like it's a whole new world for me where I'm having to evaluate the things that I've never evaluated before, but it's certainly a time management challenge."
He discussed how he'll approach his role as the offensive coordinator, and how his current relationship with the staff will benefit him.
"It's an incredible blessing to have my first opportunity this way. I know everybody on the staff very well, I know how to communicate with them, I know what makes them tick and what is the wrong way to approach things with them which kind of gives me a great head start in that. We're going through offseason cut ups right now, evaluating the stuff we did last year and we're able to have real and honest conversations about that without them feeling like I'm just critiquing them or taking shots at their position because I was in the trenches with them."
Downing talked about the team's offensive system, and how his mentor have helped him throughout his career.
"I mentioned before Scott Linehan. He's really my mentor in this profession. He raised me, taught me how to coach quarterbacks. He taught me how to put together a game plan, so I certainly will use a lot of what he taught me. I think what's unique about the situation here is I'm not installing an offense from the ground up. There is already a system in place and there is a lot about this system, to use a phrase before, that's not broke."