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Todd Downing to ‘take a new focus’ with Raiders after bye week

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NFL: Oakland Raiders Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With Todd Downing taking over as offensive coordinator this season, the Oakland Raiders offense has thus far taken a major step backwards.

The rookie coordinator changed the system from one that used a power run scheme and the ball deep to one that has uses a zone scheme to fit Marshawn Lynch’s run style and short-quick throws to protect Derek Carr.

So far, the new style of offense has not worked out. The Raiders are averaging 4.2 fewer points and 48.7 less yards per game than in 2016. And, most importantly, have three fewer victories at this point in the season.

Coming out of their bye week, it seems there might be some drastic changes coming to the Raiders’ offense that could make it look more similar to a season ago and the unit that exploded on Thursday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs in week 7.

“Yeah, it was a great time for us to be able to evaluate all that we did,” Downing said Thursday. . . “we certainly have been able to identify things that we want to run more and things that we’ll probably keep on the shelf until we have time in the offseason to polish them up a little bit. It was a very productive time for us and we’re excited to kind of take a new focus coming out of the bye.”

Downing could be referencing two things here. He could be saying that the team will take a new focus as in concentration or that the offense will have a new emphasis, like transitioning back into a power and deep throwing team.

It would make sense if the latter is the case, for Downing mentioned that the bye week was a great time “to evaluate all that we did” and that he has “things that we want to run more.”

Hopefully, the coaching staff has figured out, by self scouting, plays that the Raiders ran well this year and in the past to implement against the New England Patriots.

If Downing can’t successfully identify those plays and then get his players to execute, it will get ugly in Mexico City against New England. Not only would a failure to do so essentially kick Oakland out of playoff contention, it could put Downing’s job in serious jeopardy at the end of the season.