David Carr: Downing will give Derek Carr more freedom than Musgrave

David Carr: Downing will give Derek Carr more freedom than Musgrave

Bill Musgrave’s contract was up this offseason. The Raiders let their offensive coordinator’s deal expire, a move that was a surprise for most.

Musgrave led a potent offense ranked sixth in yards and seventh in scoring, but was allowed to walk away. The Raiders promoted quarterbacks coach Todd Downing, who is expected to give Derek Carr more freedom at the line of scrimmage.

That fact was relayed by David Carr, an NFL Network analyst and Derek’s older brother.

“Downing is going to do a fantastic job,” David Carr said, in an interview with 95.7-FM The Game in San Francisco. “Musgrave, for as good as he was – I’ve been around it -- there is old style thinking. Derek has been in such a place, especially now, at this point in his career, it’s time for some more flexibility and to let him just take ownership of this thing. That’s hard for some coordinators. I was with Kevin Gilbride in New York, and it was hard even to let Eli Manning, who is an absolute master at the line of scrimmage, to give him the freedom to do that. I think some guys are like that. Musgrave is that way. He wanted to give Derek freedom but, at the same time, I’ve been doing this for 20 years, I have a certain way of doing things. I think you’ll see more freedom from Derek at the line of scrimmage and flexibility there.”

Derek Carr has a strong bond with Downing, a promising young coach the Raiders blocked from interviewing for promotions outside the organization.

The Raiders want to keep him and their franchise quarterback together in the long term, to let them grow together from a season to the next. According to David Carr, getting rid of Musgrave eliminates the middle man.

“Him and Downing have an incredible relationship,” David Carr said. “They talk every day on the phone, gameplan-wise. He was the in-between guy. Derek would give ideas, Downing would take them to Musgrave, and if they got through they got through. If they didn’t get through, they just didn’t get through. Now you kind of eliminate that gap, it’s going to be good. They’re not going to miss a beat.”

David Carr also said Derek is doing well rehabilitating form surgery to repair a broken fibula. Derek Carr was focused on returning should the Raiders have qualified for the Super Bowl, though his rehab has slowed after a playoff loss at Houston. He is expected to return at some point in the offseason program.

“If you’re going to pick somebody to go through this, I don’t know if there’s a better person to do so,” David Carr said. “He’s an absolute dog. There’s nobody who will deal with it better. … He has always been like that. He never gave up, even with a broken leg and a plate in his foot.”


With Bowman heading to Oakland, everyone ends up happy, unless...

With Bowman heading to Oakland, everyone ends up happy, unless...

NaVorro Bowman’s employment odyssey lasted three days, and he didn’t have to get his mailing address changed.

The one-year, $3 million deal he reportedly signed with Oakland Monday came after a fairly quiet weekend for all parties. It was an easy choice for him, since there is minimal disruption, and an easy choice for Oakland, which needs all the defensive expertise it can get and has players that Bowman’s diminishing speed cannot expose.

In other words, everyone ends up happy . . . unless Bowman suddenly improves to the point where John Lynch has some ‘splainin’ to do.

The Raiders and 49ers have often shared players, thus belying their often overblown rivalry. The convenience was too . . . well, convenient, and will not be in evidence once Las Vegas becomes an NFL city.

And lord known the Raiders need some new voices in a room that has seemingly gone stale as expectations start to brown into disappointment. Bowman brings an effervescence borne of deep playoff runs, without being too loud a voice in a room that needs to develop more permanent leadership.

As to how much any of this translates into improved defensive play, or just a better vibe coming from Oaktown, well, put it this way.

If Bowman can stanch that level of bleeding, he shouldn’t be playing, he should be an EMT.

But at least he won’t end his career with a sour meeting with the people who run his original team, and that must count for something.


Ex-49ers LB NaVorro Bowman signs deal with Raiders

Ex-49ers LB NaVorro Bowman signs deal with Raiders

ALAMEDA – Former 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman visited with the Raiders on Monday, with other team meetings left on the schedule.

He cancelled them all.

The former All-Pro inside linebacker signed with the Raiders, Jack Del Rio announced Monday during his press conference. According to multiple reports, the deal is a one-year, $3 million contract. The Dallas Cowboys website first reported the agreement. He had a meeting with the Cowboys set for Tuesday.

Bowman fills a huge need in the Raiders defense. They need experience and depth on the inside. Bowman certainly provides that. Recent play suggests he isn’t the top-flight player of recent years, seeming slowed by past injuries to his knee and Achilles’ tendon.

He hasn’t forgotten how to tackle or play the run or make pre-snap reads. The Raiders need help in all those areas. They have been playing with rookie Marquel Lee and second-year pro Cory James in the base defense. Both guys are dealing with injuries, making this move even more valuable.

The Raiders are operating on a short week, but Bowman’s healthy and obviously in great shape, making it possible Bowman could play the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.

"Not out of the question," Del Rio said when asked if Bowman could play Thursday night.

That's a quick turnaround for someone entering a new scheme with brand new terminology, but he could fit in certain packages right away and help against the run. 

The Raiders also need help on passing downs, though it’s uncertain how much Bowman can help there. James and undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow have manned the sub package on the inside. Another undrafted rookie, Xavier Woodson-Luster, filled in for James during Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

“He has played a lot of good ball over the years and we’re excited to have him," Del Rio said. "We’re a little green at the linebacker position, so to add somebody with the experience that he has, we think it’s a nice addition for us. We’ll get him up to speed and see how quickly we can get him there and on the field.”

Bowman’s experience and the Raiders’ other options may lead him to be a three-down linebacker on this team. Morrow could retain that post after a solid start to his career. Time will tell on that front.

According to Pro Football Focus, Bowman has allowed 11 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets this season. Bowman lost coverage snaps to other 49ers in Week 5 and was set to lose more time to rookie Reuben Foster, a disappointment that expedited his release from the 49ers.

Bowman is a four-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler, and a winner of the 2013 Dick Butkus Award.

The Raiders should get on-field leadership on the interior and a motivated player determined to prove he remains an impact player despite being cut by a 49ers team he served since 2010.

The Raiders are mired in a four-game losing streak and are looking for a boost on both sides of the ball. Bowman should help a defense that hasn’t been half bad recently, but has lacked a presence at inside linebacker.

Del Rio hasn't seen Bowman much this season, but he watched some 49ers game tape this morning and discussed with Bowman at the team's Alameda training complex. Del Rio came away with a solid impression of his new veteran linebacker, who will front a young group right away. 

"He’s been a tough player," Del Rio said. "He has been a part of a really good defense for his entire career. I had a chance to talk a little bit today and talk about the veteran leadership that would be nice to have."