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.”


Reports: Marshawn Lynch to remain with Raiders in 2018


Reports: Marshawn Lynch to remain with Raiders in 2018

The Raiders signed veteran running back Doug Martin on Thursday, prompting many to believe the move meant the end of Marshawn Lynch's time in Oakland.

But as it has been expected, Martin is just another piece to go along with Lynch in the Raiders' backfield. According to multiple national reports, Lynch will remain in Silver and Black this upcoming season. 

The news will become official when the Raiders pay Lynch his $1 million roster bonus on Sunday. 

“One of the reasons I’m excited to be with the Raiders is to join forces with Lynch. We’ll see what happens," Jon Gruden told Insider Scott Bair at the NFL Scouting Combine. “We have to take a look at the entire roster, but I’m counting on him. I’m counting on him being a big part of this football team.”

Lynch, 31, rushed for 891 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, and scored seven touchdowns for the Raiders in 2017. 

New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'


New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'

Rashaan Melvin has the supreme confidence of a No. 1 cornerback, with none of the pedigree. Top cover men are often drafted high, paid well or both, with a steady ascent to elite status.

This undrafted talent bounced around the league without job security, trying and often failing to find NFL footing.

Melvin spent time with Tampa Bay, Miami, Baltimore, New England and Miami again before establishing himself in Indianapolis. The Colts gave him a real shot and he took advantage, evolving into the team’s top cornerback. Last year was Melvin’s best, but it didn’t provide a long-term contract despite a bull market for cover men.

Melvin signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Raiders on Friday, the type of prove-it deal that could establish a big payday down this time next year. The 28-year old doesn’t consider that pressure. Melvin knowns another big year's on the way, one that proves he's an elite cornerback

"I’m here to dominate the league," Melvin said Friday in a conference call. "It might be time for some new faces at the cornerback position. That’s my take on that. I’m excited for it.”

Melvin wouldn’t trade his long road for a conventional path, and believes experience both good and bad has prepared him for a pivotal season.

“I’ve been cut four times,” Melvin said. “I’ve been in four different locker rooms, and I was able to gain my teammates’ trust, my coaches’ trust and the organization’s trust as well. My confidence just grows over time. There are not a lot of players that can say they’ve been cut four times and end up in a situation where I’m at today. Like I said, it’s perfect timing. My work ethic, my style of play and the way I approach the game and the way I approach my job, my business, it speaks for itself.”

Melvin’s work ethic is unquestioned. His reputation as a grinder is well documented, especially after establishing himself in Indianapolis. Commitment to a craft has created a player with consistent coverage and ball skills.

Melvin was excellent last year. According to Pro Football Focus, Melvin created an incomplete pass (combining passes defensed and interceptions) on 23.6 percent of his targets.

Passers had a 60.3 passer rating against him in 2017, with just 29 completions for 328 yards on 55 targets. The passer rating was 86.6 in 2016, his only other season as a regular starter.

The Raiders need that type of player on the outside. They’ve had inconsistent cornerback play (that’s being kind) in recent seasons, and are hoping Melvin provides stability at a key position. The Northern Illinois alum has loftier aspirations, individually and as the leader of a young position group.

“The goal is to be the best player I can be, first-team All-Pro,” Melvin said. “I’m going to show my leadership, help these young guys out this year. They have tons of potential to be successful in their own careers. For me coming in here and being the leader and showing that, hey, this is what it takes to be successful in this football league, that’s what I’m willing to do. That’s what I’m willing to bring to the table. On the football field, but outside as well.”

Paying $6.5 million for all that would be a bargain. Melvin’s the key acquisition in a secondary built around 2016 first-round safety Karl Joseph and 2017 first-round cornerback Gareon Conley. This secondary can be solid if those guys can realize potential and Melvin’s a true No. 1 cornerback.

He considers that title appropriate, and is ready to show he’s more that a one-year wonder. The Raiders have great confidence in Melvin, something clear after targeting him early in the free-agent process. Financing’s always a big factor, but Friday’s meeting with head coach Jon Gruden, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and secondary coach Derrick Ansley convinced Melvin that Oakland’s a proper fit.

“I can relate to these guys,” Melvin said. “They have big plans for me, big plans for the organization. I was born to be a part of something special; that’s happening in Oakland. It was a good thing. We were able to get everything done, a deal done. I’m just excited to be here and I’m excited to see what the future holds for us as a team and me as a player.”