It seems the Oakland Raiders’ season has claimed one final casualty before it was all said and done. A source tells Ian Rapoport for the NFL Network that Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave will not be returning to the team in 2017.
According to John Middlekauff for Comcast SportsNet, the Raiders have announced quarterbacks coach Todd Downing will replace Musgrave.
Obviously, Oakland will be able to maintain some semblance of continuity by handing the reins to Downing, who’s spent the last two seasons with the club. The decision almost certainly has the approval of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr as well, considering how closely the two have been working together since Downing’s hire.
Downing’s NFL coaching career began as a football systems analyst with the Minnesota Vikings in 2003. He was a quarterbacks coach with the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills prior to his arrival in Oakland.
As for Musgrave, the timing of his departure might raise some eyebrows. The Raiders offense ranked 6th in the NFL in yards (5,973) and 7th in scoring (416), not to mention it was the impetus behind the team’s surprise 12-4 record. Also hired in 2015, Musgrave certainly had a hand in Carr’s ascension to legitimate MVP candidate as well, not to mention years of experience with the job.
Bill Williamson for All22.com says Musgrave’s contract with the Raiders is expiring, and there’s already interest around the league. Williamson adds that Musgrave “got a raw deal” in Oakland, but notes Downing is a rising star in coaching circles.
Whatever the reasons, Musgrave is out and Downing is in, and while that means the offensive scheme will likely remain largely intact, it’s still a major change nonetheless. If the offense takes a step back in 2017, people will immediately point to the decision to let Musgrave walk — and, perhaps, rightfully so considering how well everything was working.