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Raiders replace OC Bill Musgrave
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ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders are making changes on their coaching staff after their first playoff berth in 14 years.
A person familiar with the plans said Tuesday that quarterbacks coach Todd Downing will replace offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave next season on coach Jack Del Rio's staff. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the changes have not been announced by the team.
Musgrave's contract was up and will not be renewed by the Raiders in the first changes to Del Rio's staff since he was hired in 2015.
NFL Network first reported that Musgrave would not return next season.
Oakland (12-5) made the playoffs and posted a winning record for the first time since 2002 before quarterback Derek Carr broke his leg in the second-to-last game of the regular season.
Musgrave helped develop one of the NFL's top offenses in his two seasons in Oakland as Carr grew from an up-and-down rookie season before Musgrave arrived into a possible MVP candidate this season.
Carr threw for 3,937 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, while throwing just six interceptions and taking only 16 sacks before the injury.
The Raiders ranked sixth in total offense, seventh in scoring and 10th in yards per play this season.
Oakland also had a successful ground game, averaging 4.4 yards per carry, with a three-headed backfield led by Latavius Murray and rookies Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.
The Raiders had 416 points this season — the fourth most for the franchise in a 16-game season — and had seven fourth-quarter comebacks on the way to earning a wild-card berth in the AFC.
But Oakland stumbled in the season finale with backup quarterback Matt McGloin and then lost the playoff game behind rookie Connor Cook.
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 had one of the league's top offenses behind Carr, 1,000-yard receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, an offensive line with three Pro Bowlers and the running game.
Downing started his NFL coaching career in 2001 in Minnesota. He also served as quarterbacks coach in Detroit and Buffalo and is very close to Carr and will bring a level of continuity to the job.
Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. is expected to return despite overseeing a unit that allowed a league-worst 6.1 yards per play. Defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson reportedly will not be back next season after the Raiders allowed an NFL-high 61 pass plays of at least 20 yards.
Del Rio put the blame on the defensive backs for that weakness in his season-ending news conference Sunday.
"Explosive plays, whether you like it or not, they always come back to the secondary," he said. "The front line, even if you have a front line that is full of holes, the back end has a chance to cap the play before it goes explosive."