Raiders’ Todd Downing breaks down role as offensive coordinator
For Todd Downing, one of the benefits of remaining with the Raiders as the new offensive coordinator is continuing to work with quarterback Derek Carr, who finished third in the MVP voting.
After two seasons as Oakland’s quarterbacks coach, Downing, 36, was promoted last month while other teams considered interviewing him to be their offensive coordinator.
Carr completed 357 of 560 passes (63.8 percent) for 3,937 yards and 28 touchdowns for a passer rating of 96.7.
Carr broke his leg on Christmas Eve in the second-to-last game of the regular season, and the Raiders lost their finale and an AFC wild-card playoff game in Houston.
Much of what he learned came from his mentor, Scott Linehan, the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator, when they worked together in Minnesota and Detroit.
Downing said he learned of his promotion from head coach Jack Del Rio in the staff’s wrap-up meeting after the playoff loss.
After Latavius Murray had just five carries in the regular-season finale, Del Rio was quoted as saying, “How does that happen?”
The Raiders rewarded head coach Jack Del Rio with a four-year contract Friday, effectively extending his deal for two seasons after he led Oakland to its first playoff appearance in 14 years.
“We are excited to continue building on the strong foundation that has been established and this is a significant step in achieving that goal,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement.
The Raiders went 12-4 this past season before losing their first-round playoff game at Houston 27-14, two weeks after quarterback Derek Carr broke his leg.
LAS VEGAS — The Raiders and the board overseeing the proposed NFL stadium in Las Vegas have high hopes for the project despite losing an instrumental supporter, but their plan is still missing hundreds of millions of dollars in financing.
Both sides plan to continue to work on a lease agreement, but the team didn’t give a definitive answer for the major financial gap.
The meeting in Las Vegas came at a crucial time for the Raiders’ proposed relocation: less than two weeks after Adelson pulled out of the project and six weeks before an NFL owners’ meeting where they are expected to vote on whether to approve the move.
Badain and stadium authority board members on Thursday expressed confidence in their ability to make significant progress in a proposed lease and use agreement ahead of the owners gathering.
Adelson, the chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp. whose holdings include the Venetian and Palazzo resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, played an instrumental role in winning state approval to help fund the stadium with public money.
The stadium authority is a public board whose operations will be funded by the newly approved Las Vegas-area hotel tax increase that’s expected to yield $13 million a year.
Not held back by being on a team that ranked 26th in defense, the Raiders’ Khalil Mack won the 2016 Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year award Saturday night.
The defensive end beat out Broncos linebacker Von Miller, last year’s Super Bowl MVP, by one vote.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr finished tied for third in MVP voting, behind winner Matt Ryan and Tom Brady and even with Ezekiel Elliott.
The Raiders’ first-round pick in 2014 (No. 5 overall) also had 77 tackles, four passes defensed, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and an interception return for a touchdown.
The pick-six came in Week 12 against the Panthers’ Cam Newton, and Mack became the first NFL player since 2009 to have an interception, sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and a touchdown in the same game.
“He’s unique in the sense that there may be a guy or two in the league that can get to the quarterback better than him,” Raiders Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long told ESPN.
Miller finished with 13½ sacks, 78 tackles and three forced fumbles for the fourth-rated Broncos.
Carr became the first quarterback in NFL history to have five game-winning touchdown passes in the fourth quarter or overtime in a season, and he set a franchise record with seven fourth-quarter comebacks.
HOUSTON — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell offered little clarity Wednesday to the Raiders’ once-promising, now seemingly floundering plan to relocate to Las Vegas.
The Raiders’ plans were tossed into disarray this week when billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson withdrew his support as a big investor in a stadium project.
With Adelson no longer involved and investment bank Goldman-Sachs following his lead and pulling out of a potential deal to help construct a $1.9 billion stadium, the next steps for the Raiders — and the NFL — are uncertain.
“We haven’t made a determination about Las Vegas as an NFL market,” Goodell said during his annual Super Bowl news conference.
[...] the proposed deal fell apart when the Raiders put in a proposed lease agreement with the Las Vegas stadium authority in which they would pay $1 a year in rent.
Adelson, reportedly upset that his name was not included in the lease proposal, issued a statement this week saying that he “will no longer be involved in any facet of the stadium discussion.”
[...] the issue has pivoted to whether the Raiders can find another investor and whether Las Vegas — where Adelson wields immense political power — remains an option.
Texans owner Bob McNair, an influential member of several NFL committees, including the league’s finance committee, was asked if owners would be willing to assist Davis in his bid to move to Las Vegas.
[...] much like the primary issue the Raiders have had with the Oakland, San Diego and the Chargers were not able to reach a suitable agreement on a new stadium.
When a San Diego reporter suggested that the NFL had made it enticing for the Chargers to move to Los Angeles, Goodell sharply disagreed as he referenced how owner Dean Spanos remained in San Diego for another year with the hope of reaching a stadium deal.
Had Adelson remained involved in the project, league owners would have had to waive a league rule that prevents casino operators to having ownership roles in teams.
The Raiders and head coach Jack Del Rio have started discussions on a contract extension, league sources said.
Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie was given a four-year extension in July, and the Raiders plan to give quarterback Derek Carr a long-term deal this offseason as well.
[...] with the Las Vegas stadium project in limbo and no progress on a new facility in Oakland, the NFL announced Wednesday that the Raiders will play a regular-season game in Mexico City for the second straight year.
“The Raiders are excited to return to Estadio Azteca and represent the National Football League once again on an international stage,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement.
Oakland beat the Texans 27-20 in front of 76,473 fans Nov. 21 in a game marred by some spectators shining laser pointers on Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler’s face while he threw.
The game was a logistical mess for fans and reporters in an old, outdated stadium, and players didn’t like the field conditions or high altitude — but the league made a lot of money on the sold-out game.
A day after casino mogul Sheldon Adelson pulled out of the project, league sources told The Chronicle that the investment bank Goldman Sachs is no longer interested in the deal.
[...] while the Raiders could probably find financing elsewhere, the team may be mulling whether it wants to go forward with the Las Vegas bid if former ally Adelson is now an enemy.
Adelson had committed $650 million to get the $1.9 billion project completed, but the billionaire CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp. was upset that he wasn’t involved when the team pitched a lease proposal to the Clark County Stadium Authority.
The Raiders told NFL owners two weeks ago that they could finance that amount through Goldman Sachs if Adelson wasn’t part of the deal, but the Las Vegas businessman has a long-standing relationship with Goldman Sachs.
[...] sources said, Goldman Sachs’ involvement was tied to Adelson as the bank was going to finance the entire deal.
NFL owners were expected to vote on the move to Las Vegas at a league meeting March 26, but that suddenly seems like a long shot, considering the financial uncertainty of the deal.
There had been speculation that Adelson would attempt to purchase a piece of the Raiders, but Steelers owner Art Rooney II two weeks ago cited league rules and policies that would prohibit a casino owner from owning a franchise.
Adelson, 83, viewed the domed stadium as a legacy project, and was taken aback when the team proposed a lease agreement with $1 annual rent and total control.
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who sold their mixed martial arts company for $4 billion last year, also have been mentioned as possible partners.
Nevada state Senate Democratic leader Aaron Ford said in a statement that legislation could be introduced redirecting the hotel tax funds to other construction projects if there isn’t progress soon on the stadium project.
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson removed himself from a plan to build a $1.9 billion domed stadium that would become the Raiders’ home in Las Vegas, after he had pledged $650 million to the project. [...] Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office says the proposal is for the Raiders to invest $1.15 billion and accept operating responsibilities. At a Stadium Authority meeting last week, Chairman Steve Hill said Goldman Sachs has agreed to provide financing for the Raiders. Adelson said the lease proposal, which called for terms including a $1 yearly rent, control over field scheduling and exclusive naming rights for the team, sent “shock waves” through the community and was a surprise to his family. “It’s clear the Raiders have decided their path for moving to Las Vegas does not include the Adelson family,” Adelson said in the statement. The Raiders filed paperwork to move to Las Vegas this month, a proposal that needs to be ratified by 24 of the NFL’s 32 owners, after failing to come to terms on a deal for a new stadium in Oakland. There had been speculation that Adelson would attempt to purchase a piece of the Raiders, but Rooney cited rules and policies that would prohibit a casino owner from owning a franchise.
In a move that might have raised as many eyebrows as it answered questions, the Raiders announced Monday that they have hired former Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano as their assistant head coach-defense.
Despite the title, Pagano’s hiring apparently did nothing to affect the status of defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.
In its first two games this season, Oakland allowed 1,035 yards — an NFL record for the first two weeks — and 69 points.
Head coach Jack Del Rio admitted that late in his team’s 35-28 Week 2 loss to Atlanta, he had taken over the defensive play-calling duties from Norton.
After allowing the opposition to gain 400-plus yards in five of the first six games, none of the Raiders’ final 10 regular-season opponents surpassed 390 — and four were held below 325.
Pagano, whose older brother Chuck is the Colts’ head coach, was with the Chargers for 15 seasons — the past two as their defensive coordinator.
A little more than two years after enduring a 16-game losing streak, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was named the NFL Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America on Thursday.
The only three players remaining from the Al Davis era are kicker Sebastian Janikowski, long-snapper Jon Condo and running back Taiwan Jones.
The turning point came in 2014, when McKenzie drafted defensive end Khalil Mack in the first round and quarterback Derek Carr in the second.
Receiver Amari Cooper, the team’s first-round pick in 2015, has had consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, and running back Latavius Murray, a sixth-round pick in 2013, earned a Pro Bowl bid in 2015.
“Whether you point at a certain free agent or a certain draft pick, claim or coach decision, it’s an accumulation of all of the above,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie signed four key unrestricted free agents in 2016: PFWA All-NFL guard Kelechi Osemele, linebacker Bruce Irvin, safety Reggie Nelson and cornerback Sean Smith, to go with 2015 unrestricted free-agent signee and 1,000-yard receiver Michael Crabtree.
The PFWA also named Dallas’ Jason Garrett as Coach of the Year and Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan — the leading candidate to be the 49ers’ next head coach — as the Assistant Coach of the Year.