Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave’s contract was coming to an end. It will expire and not be renewed, a league source told CSN California Tuesday afternoon.
NFL Network first reported the news earlier in the day.
Continuity, however, is still in the cards with a different offensive coordinator. The Raiders will promote quarterbacks coach Todd Downing to that spot, the same league source said.
The offense improved in two seasons under Musgrave and finished as sixth in total yards and rushing yards and seventh in points scored. Derek Carr also played well in his second season in Musgrave’s system.
John Middlekauff first reported the news on Downing.
Downing is a considered an up-and-comer in the league and a bright offensive mind. The Raiders wanted to keep him in house. Downing has a close relationship with starting quarterback Derek Carr and is well respected in the locker room, which should allow for an easy transition to a new play caller.
According to theMMQB.com, the Raiders blocked Downing from interviewing for other jobs in order to keep him around.
Del Rio was openly critical of Musgrave’s play-calling at times this season. He questioned why lead back Latavius Murray only had five carries in the regular-season finale against Denver. He also wondered aloud why the Raiders didn’t play “big boy ball” in a pivotal loss to Kansas City and talked about over-ruling a play call in that same game.
The Raiders offense didn’t play well after losing Carr to injury, as one would expect, especially using rookie Connor Cook in the playoffs against Houston. After that loss, Del Rio was asked about a possible halftime switch to Matt McGloin. He said he asked, and said coaches wanted to stay with Cook.
This is the second time Del Rio and Musgrave have parted ways. Musgrave was fired after two seasons as Jacksonville offensive coordinator (2003-04) when Del Rio was Jaguars head coach.
There was other Raiders coaching news on Tuesday.
The Raiders plan to keep defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. in his current position, a league source told CSN California.
The NFL Network reported Tuesday morning that Norton will be retained.
The Raiders defense struggled preventing yards allowed at times, but improved as the season went along.
That unit, which needs upgrades at several spots including defensive tackle and interior linebacker, also had 30 takeaways this season and was solid on third down.
Norton is popular among the players, and has a strong backer in edge rusher and vocal leader Bruce Irvin.
Irvin voiced support for Norton on Twitter.
“The system has been proven. (It) works! I know that firsthand. Everyone must buy in!”
Overall, the Raiders finished the season ranked No. 26 in total yards allowed and 20th in points allowed.
Head coach Jack Del Rio also has a strong influence on this defensive scheme.
Also, the Sporting News reported that Raiders defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson has been fired. Robertson was Raiders secondary coach under Dennis Allen, and was retained in 2015 at Charles Woodson’s behest.
Del Rio singled out the secondary as a major reason why the Raiders allowed too many explosive plays.