Raiders

Downing's unique journey leads to job as Raiders offensive coordinator

Downing's unique journey leads to job as Raiders offensive coordinator

Todd Downing took a long, winding road to become the Raiders offensive coordinator.

He started work in the NFL as a public relations intern for Minnesota before moving into the football side of things under Mike Tice, the current Raiders offensive line coach who was then Vikings head coach. He worked as a systems analyst and quality control coach.

He spent time as a quality control coach on both sides of the ball before landing a job as Detroit Lions quarterbacks coach in 2011. He held that position in Detroit and Buffalo before manning that post in Oakland, where he fostered a great relationship with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. He’s well respected for his work in Oakland, with a wide base of knowledge from several different offensive schemes.

Downing will now take over as Raiders offensive coordinator, the next step in his rise up the coaching ranks. He talked about his coaching career on a Dec. 30 edition of the CSN Raiders Insider Podcast.

“It’s been an incredible experience, my journey thus far,” Downing said then. “Hopefully it continues to develop and last for a lot longer, because I love what I do. Going from an intern to bouncing around different departments and then finally cracking my way into coaching was interesting. Then going over to the defensive side of the ball and coming back to work with quarterbacks, which is where my passion is, it’s been incredible.

"I feel like I’ve developed a well-rounded sense of this game, the business of it and the scheme of it. It’s been a very unique journey, and it’s helped me get a full understanding of what it takes to be around a winning culture.”

Derek Carr hopes pivotal Raiders offseason can expedite rebuilding process

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Derek Carr hopes pivotal Raiders offseason can expedite rebuilding process

Derek Carr is tired of burning daylight. He’s done some of that already, cycling through four head coaches, four offensive play callers and three offensive schemes in five NFL seasons. He was a young player brought in as part of a roster rebuild that worked.

It just didn’t last long. The Raiders fell back on hard times following a 12-4 campaign in 2016, and now head coach Jon Gruden’s fully committed to another radical reconstruction.

Gruden traded Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, guys who could’ve helped the Raiders win last season. He acquired others who didn’t, namely Martavis Bryant and Ryan Switzer and several veteran defenders who won’t see another season in silver and black.

Now the Raiders enter the offseason with an arsenal: three first-round draft picks and $76 million in salary-cap space without anyone deserving of a long-term extension that must factor into the budget.

Carr’s hoping all those tools will expedite the rebuilding process. He doesn’t want to waste more seasons doing it slow, and hopes Gruden can import several impact players in one offseason.

“We need some guys who can come in and help us now,” Carr said in an interview with 940-AM in Fresno. “We have some good building pieces. We have some foundational pieces. Obviously, we have a quarterback, so we don’t need one of those. That’s the good thing.

“We just need some players who can help us win now. We’re building this thing. We’ve been building this thing. We’ve built this thing a couple of times. It’s time to get people who can just come in and help us now. There are a lot of veterans on this team who signed contracts or signed extensions or free-agent deals to come play here because we want to win and we believe in this system and what we’re doing.”

[RELATED: How Raiders can realistically improve Derek Carr's supporting cast]

Count Carr among them. He signed a $125 million extension believing incumbent stars would also be here long term and find sustained success. That wish never came true, and now Gruden’s looking to remake the franchise with new guys.

This offseason will be pivotal in Gruden’s success. It could turn things around quickly, as Carr hopes, if he and general manager Mike Mayock lock onto the right guys.

“If we get three players who are NFL ready right now, if we get three starters from those three (first-round picks) or maybe four if you count some of the other picks…,” Carr said, trailing off. “And we have some cash to spend. We have a lot of cap room. If we can spend that cap and that capital and get some good veteran players, not just average guys but guys who can make a difference, (that would be positive). We’re a lot closer than people give us credit for.”

Raiders Derek Carr dismissed by Khalil Mack when asked about being dunked on

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Raiders Derek Carr dismissed by Khalil Mack when asked about being dunked on

Khalil Mack and Derek Carr remained close even after they stopped being teammates. Carr was devastated to lose Mack in a trade for a Raiders' future draft compensation, both in the locker room and on the field.

Beyond the friendship, the two became main members of the silver and black, and brought much promise to the organization and hoped to create a culture change.

That, unfortunately, didn't come to fruition. 

But we're lucky they still participate in Twitter exchanges to show there are no hard feelings and the bromance is still alive and well. But most recently, they showed there will always be a competitive nature between the two.

Carr answered some questions on his YouTube channel Thursday. But someone wanted to ask via Twitter if he will still dunk on Khalil Mack in the offseason after it became public knowledge Mack has already dunked on him at David Carr's house.

The answer? Without question:

Well, that settles that, but we won't truly believe it until we see it. But at least there's the 1-on-1 win that Carr had against Mack.

Your move, Carr.