Raiders promote QB coach Downing to offensive coordinator

AP photo

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders have officially announced that quarterbacks coach Todd Downing has been promoted to offensive coordinator and Jake Peetz will be the new quarterback coach.

News of the changes on the staff first emerged Tuesday and the Raiders announced the first changes to coach Jack Del Rio’s staff since he took over in 2015 on Saturday.

Oakland allowed the contracts of offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson to expire after the team’s first playoff berth in 14 years. Musgrave is now quarterbacks coach in Denver.

Downing closely with quarterback Derek Carr as his position coach the previous two years, helping him grow from an up-and-down rookie season to a stellar campaign in 2016 with 3,937 yards passing and 28 touchdowns before a broken leg in the second-to-last game of the regular season derailed Oakland.

With backups Matt McGloin and Connor Cook at the helm, the Raiders lost the season finale at Denver to lose out on the division title and first-round bye and then were eliminated from the playoffs with a 27-14 loss at Houston last week.

Downing enters his 17th season as NFL assistant, having previously worked on staffs in Buffalo, Detroit, St. Louis and Minnesota.

Del Rio publicly criticized Musgrave’s play-calling at times during the season, wondering why Murray didn’t get more carries in a season-ending loss at Denver that cost the team a division title and first-round bye.

And Del Rio also questioned why Musgrave didn’t stick to the run on the final drive in a key December loss at Kansas City and said he would have rather had one of his big backs run, instead of the smaller Richard, on a failed fourth-down play in an early season loss to Atlanta.

Despite that, Oakland ranked sixth in total offense and seventh in scoring this season behind Carr, 1,000-yard receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, an offensive line with three Pro Bowlers and the running game.

Peetz worked closely with both Downing and Carr as assistant quarterbacks coach last season. He was a senior offensive assistant with the Raiders in 2015 and has also worked with Washington and Jacksonville in eight previous seasons in the NFL.

Robertson had spent the past three seasons on the Raiders staff but was let go after the team allowed an NFL-high 61 pass plays of at least 20 yards in 2016.

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