Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing spoke with the media on Thursday after practice and the results were a combination of underwhelming and borderline upsetting.
In particular, two statements reported by The Athletic’s Vic Tafur drew the ire of many Raiders fans on Twitter. The first came in response to a question about the almost non existent run game;
So to be fair to Downing, the Raiders run game did take a step in the right direction on Sunday. They looked much better than they had in weeks past but they were far from great and definitely didn’t do anything worth being excited about. But I think the part that bothered fans the most was the idea of Downing being happy not with where the run game is, but where it’s trending towards. Thing is, this is week five and the run game shouldn’t be trending anywhere, it should be established.
The fact that the team is still trying to figure things out in the run game after already playing five games is concerning, not exciting.
The other quote from Downing that resulted in strong reactions was in response to a question about how few points the Raiders have scored during this three game losing streak:
How many people remember Raiders coaches last season saying they weren’t concerned about the defense, they just needed to pay attention to detail? And how many knew then like they know now that there is absolutely no way the only problem is a lack of attention to detail?
The Oakland Raiders were supposed to have a power house offense that was even better than the top five unit they put on the field last season. Instead, that unit has looked completely inept for major periods of time over the three game losing streak. I understand confidence and trying to show your team that you are confident, but Downing needs to understand that confidence that doesn’t seems unjustified can make one come off as clueless.
Some may ask, “well what is Downing supposed to say?” and the response is easy: The truth. We see coaches call out players for poor performance all of the time. We’ve also seen them fall on the sword and take responsibility for poor performances all of the time. Downing could have easily come out and said “Look, it’s been bad, I get that. The team is nowhere near where it needs to be but I’m dedicated to turning things around and confident we can get that done.”