Prepping for Tuesday's Raiders media conference

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Prepping for Tuesday's Raiders media conference

PROGRAMMINGALERT: Tune into Raiders Press Conference Live on CSN California at 2 p.m..

It's been a wild and rumor-filled week in the streets of Silver and Blackdom, what with the Raiders' season coming to an inglorious end one victory shy of the playoffs, a whole slew of defensive coaches on their way out the door, a new general manager in Reggie McKenzie on his way in and coach Hue Jackson purportedly blowing in the wind.So here's what we do know -- there will be a media conference on Tuesday at the Raiders' Alameda facility where McKenzie will be introduced. Other that that, a lot of speculation. Following then, 10 looming questions, plus a bonus, sure to come up at the presser

1) Will Hue Jackson be in attendance?All indications areyes. Why wouldn't he be? Unless, of course, the reports over the weekend that he could be in jeopardy have legs. Even if he's not formally invited, Jackson should be the dutiful coach and show up.2) If Jackson is there, where will he sit?Hopefully in the back of the room or off to the side. Jackson does not need to be up on the dais. This is McKenzie's day and Jackson sharing the stage would send a decidedly different message. Then again, Jackson has to play this very carefully. Any wrong move could be taken as a power play by the coach and former de facto G.M. on the new G.M. McKenzie.3) What about Mark Davis, will he be there?No word yet and he had no comment in a text message Monday evening, but talk about a guy reporters would love to lob a few questions at, especially since he has yet to make a public statement since he took over the team following the death of his father on Oct. 8. The younger Davis is an intriguing figure and might want to let this be McKenzie's day as well, though it will be interesting to see who introduces the new Raiders G.M.4) What about that whole power structure thing again?With the passing of Al Davis, Jackson essentially became the Raiders' football czar, answering to no one on football matters before getting things green-lighted by Mark Davis. So with McKenzie now in the house, who answers to whom, and who has the final say on personnel matters when it comes to signing and drafting players? What exactly, is McKenzie's job description and where are both men on the team's power flow chart, so to speak?5) Has Jackson lost some of his Hue-bris?Jackson took a lot of heat for the way he handled matters and the confidence with which he did. But really, what was he supposed to do? Fans loved it when the Raiders were 7-4; not so much when they lost four of their final five games. How deferential Jackson acts towards McKenzie will tell the tale.6) Wait, don't Jackson and McKenzie have the same agent, and couldn't that muddy the waters since each would potentially know how much money the other guy makes?Yes, and potentially. Especially if there is a power struggle atop the Raiders' food chain. Then again, they could be fast friends and quick partners in steering the ship to calmer waters. Kennard McGuire might have his hands full keeping these two clients happy.
7) So you're saying Jackson stays on?Well, in my opinion, he deserves to, yes. Because while Tom Cable changed the culture in the Raiders' locker room, Jackson took it to another level. And he is intrinsically linked to quarterback Carson Palmer, in whom the Raiders, ahem, Jackson, have invested so much. Get rid of Jackson and you have to scrap the entire offensive system, and that does not bode well for a 32-year old nine-year NFL veteran QB. Jackson probably has a shorter-than-normal leash, though.8) But wouldn't McKenzie want to start fresh, like with his own coach?Perhaps, but remember, the offense, under Jackson, is light years better than it was the previous three seasons at the very least. And continuity is ultra-important to this team that, minus a key injury here and there and a key defensive stop against Buffalo andor Detroit, would have won the AFC West and played host to Pittsburgh in a playoff game. A quick fixer-upper is what's needed at this juncture, not a total overhaul. Unless we're talking about the defense, of course.9) How much power will McKenzie really have?The last Raiders G.M before the late Al Davis was really Bruce Allen, who departed to join Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay in 2004. So these are fairly untested waters of late for the Raiders. The sense here is that McKenzie will have full final say over personnel matters. Otherwise, why would he want to leave the tranquility of Green Bay for a potential power struggle that would be between a first-year G.M. and a second-year coach? McKenzie, though, needs to rebuild (build?) the Raiders' personnel department.10) Will there be any overhead projectors involved, any coaches getting eviscerated?We can only hope. Because while any Al Davis presser became must-see-TV in his later years thanks to his use of AV equipment and his sharp wit, this gathering is supposed to be a celebration for the Raider Nation, a welcome-home gala for McKenzie, who played for the Raiders from 1985 through 1988, a coming-out party for Mark Davis and a relief, really, for Jackson. It might be a sad day for Hue Jackson the de facto G.M., but it should be a great day for Jackson the playcalling coach, who can now simply worry about what goes down on the field, rather than taking the entire organization on his shoulders. At least, that's how it should play out.BONUS) What questions would you, the fans, ask?

Raiders OC Todd Downing: New weapons will 'make me look good'

Raiders OC Todd Downing: New weapons will 'make me look good'

STANFORD – Todd Downing has long been responsible for intently analyzing college quarterbacks entering the NFL Draft. He certainly did so during two seasons as Raiders quarterbacks coach, adding input to personnel department evaluations on young signal callers.

This offseason, he’s using a wide-angle lens. Downing is the Raiders offensive coordinator now, promoted to the position after Bill Musgrave was allowed to leave on an expired contract.

Coaches enter the draft evaluation process relatively late – they have a season to coach, after all – but Downing prides himself on working hard in evaluating talent. Working with general manager Reggie McKenzie’s staff, coaches feel like their voice is being heard.

That’s important to a coordinator especially, who must make a scheme work with talent around him.

“Reggie and his staff have always done a tremendous job of listening to our vision for the offense or the defense,” Downing said Thursday at Stanford’s pro day. “It’s been a joy to work with those guys over the past three years.

“(Head coach Jack Del Rio) really expects us to be accountable for our position group. Now that I’m the coordinator, there’s more of a broad scope when looking at offensive talent in the draft. When you work that hard (evaluating players), I think the scouts know that your opinion is well grounded, and that validates it a little bit.”

Downing is always on the lookout for weapons, especially while making tweaks to the Raiders offense. The Silver and Black found a few, adding tight end Jared Cook, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, offensive lineman Marshal Newhouse and quarterback EJ Manuel.

Quarterback Derek Carr helped him get some. The full-time East Bay resident has been active recruiting free agents, trying to improve an already strong Raiders offense.

“You guys know how passionate he is about this game, and about this team and backing up this franchise,” Downing said. “(His involvement in recruiting) didn’t surprise any of us. He’s pretty hands on when it comes to football. He lives in the area, so he hopped in when we needed it and it paid off.”

Cook and Patterson especially could add dimensions to a well-rounded Raiders attack. Cook has made some big plays in the past, and should be a reliable receiving tight end the Raiders have lacked in recent seasons.

“He has a skill set that will be fun to play with (schematically),” Downing said. “We’re excited to see what he can do, and I know Derek is excited to add him. He has a history of making plays in this league, and that’s something we’re excited to have.”

Patterson’s primarily known as a kick returner – he’s a two-time All Pro on special teams – but the Raiders hope he’ll be active on offense.

“With guys like that, you just find a way to get them the rock and let them do the rest of the work,” Downing said. “They make me look good. I can call a simple play and he takes it the distance and it looks like I designed something special.”

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

A week after signing a deal with the Vikings, former Raiders running back Latavius Murray has undergone ankle surgery.

The Vikings made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

Minnesota issued the following statement regarding the surgery:

"Vikings RB Latavius Murray had successful ankle surgery today. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were aware of the required surgery prior to signing Latavius on March 16. Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp."

Murray's deal with the Vikings is reported worth $15 million over three years, but can reportedly be voied after the first year.

Drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Murray became the Raiders' primary running back midway through the 2015 season. In his three years in Oakland, Murray carried the ball 543 times for 2,278 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015.