If Jack Del Rio Is Looking For Scapegoats, His Options Are Limited

The Raiders are falling apart at the seams and if head coach Jack Del Rio is looking for a scapegoat, his coaching staff doesn’t offer an easy target.

Sure, folks are calling for Ken Norton Jr. and Todd Downing to be fired, but from Del Rio’s standpoint it’s a little more complicated.

Theoretically, Norton Jr. would be the easiest to fire. There’s a solid replacement already on staff and it’s a move Del Rio has probably kept in his back pocket.

The problem?

The defense isn’t the problem.

Albeit only a little, the defense has actually improved from a year ago. There’s the ugly fact that the secondary can’t seem to stumble into an interception, but overall the defense is actually keeping an abysmal Raider offense in games this year.

So fire the offensive coordinator, right?

Well, no, that doesn’t work either. It’s actually a worse option.

By firing Downing, Del Rio would essentially be acknowledging the season was sabotaged by his decision to replace Bill Musgrave.

Not only can Del Rio not afford a pterodactyl-sized egg on his face, Downing is one of the most respected young coaches in football. Until now, Downing has enjoyed success everywhere he’s been.

So what buttons are left to push?

JDR’s first maneuver will probably be to lean toward a youth movement – at least on the defensive side.

Reggie Nelson comes to mind as a starter that will probably be shown the bench.

Once the Raiders have a few healthy corners, Sean Smith is as likely to be cut as he is to be benched.

Other than roster moves, there’s not a lot Del Rio can do.

The head ball coach made his bed in the offseason. Best-case scenario (from his standpoint at least) is that he’ll have the opportunity to re-make it again after the season.

twitter: @raidersbeat


20 thoughts on “If Jack Del Rio Is Looking For Scapegoats, His Options Are Limited

  1. Don’t know what Raiders you’re watching, but the Oakland Raiders defense can’t get a third down stop going back to, you guessed it, when KNJ was hired. The offense was ranked 6th last year with a dull OC, leading us to believe that with a dynamic play caller we would light up the scoreboard. We should be averaging 30+ points a game, but our new OC decided to change the scheme. Look how that’s working out. JDR allowed this change. Another problem that has gone under the radar is the DL coach. We should be pushing back O lines like they’re on roller skates. It is obvious the problem is a coaching problem, and Del Rio just found himself in the mix.

  2. Its more then that..He was a bad choice as Jim harbaugh declined after Mark talked with him.

    This season is over..RM and JDR need to be put on notice..

  3. I hope he doesn’t get that opportunity. We will never know, but can’t be blamed for thinking things would be better w/Musgrave. Carr desperately needs help and doesn’t appear to be getting any from Downing. JDR is in over his head, as he often was in Jacksonville. Are there quality HC candidates out there who will work for this organization? Haven’t been before. Hope springs eternal.

  4. If they would play the way they play in the late third and fourth quarter the standings would probably look a lot better. I would trade a few more interceptions for more touchdowns and potential wins. Stop the conservative bs and play to your strength. And to think Musgrave seemed to conservative.

  5. Someone has to take responsibility! Reggie’s bad draft picks,JDR keeping Norton Jr & letting Musgrave leave!? Too much talent,we need someone to put it all together!!

  6. It seems like when we throw the ball down the field and are aggressive and attacking we’re successful. When we dink and dunk we suck! Last year when we won all of those come from behind victories we had to go down field and be aggressive. I think that was evident in the two scoring drives we had today. Also, backs are getting hit 2 and 3 yards in the back field, as soon as they get the handoff. The O line is not playing like the group we had last year and I think this is affecting DC.

  7. Downing needs to take a look back at the changes he made from last season and make some adjustments – he doesn’t need to go back to the old system, but needs to recognize that some of his changes are not working. I don’t think JDR has egg on his face for choosing Downing over Musgrave, but it is on him if he doesn’t get Downing to make the adjustments needed to get this offense back on-line.

    The Raiders addressed the secondary with their first two picks. Both have been injured, but neither had an injury history – so not the team’s fault. Conley was a steal since his off-the-field issues went away. Obi comes back next week. My guess is Conley comes back by the end of the season unless we aren’t in contention. I agree with the move toward the youth, because they potentially give us a better chance to win if they can get some playing time before the playoffs. The defense has the potential to be much improved if we get our two top draft picks playing by the playoffs – assuming we make the playoffs, which is a big question right now. We still need more pressure from the middle of the line.

  8. The OC is a good starting point he just doesn’t make the calls. Del Rio must go he’s lost this team #33 that was a crucial fumble he has to go as well

  9. I for one thought it was a mistake to extended JDR’s contract after one winning season especially when 4 or 5 of those games could have easily been losses like they are this year. If Mark Davis hasn’t already had the conversation with Delrio and told him that he needs to have a really impressive second half of the season in order for him to keep his job he should. At least the game plan philosophies may get tweeked enough to m ake a difference.

  10. Its better to put aside his pride and take one on the chin then to rebuild a youth movement in a D scheme by JR that sucks or TD’s bad coaching. RM and JDR can move on ir back to Mustgrave @ 12-4. No room in football for prideful coaching mistakes to bo owned. RM is @ fault too w/most draft pic busts. Cant go to Vegas as bottom feeders!

  11. Sigh…..3-5. It’s broke JDR and the only one to blame is yourself. Not Reggie. I’d say JDR is really lucky Al Davis isn’t running the show these days because Jack would be on the street. Yes, mayhem would ensue as well. With eight games left in this currently disappointing season The organization better figure out something because the remaining opponents are a combined 33-25, not all that impressive but with teams like NE and PH on the road (okay Mexico is almost like home turf) and our own division heating up it can get….worse. Frankly we’re just itching to be the Giants second win of the season. Carr and company deserved better than this from their coaching staff. And so does Raider Nation.

    1. The offensive scheme is not working , lets back to what does , right the ship get aggressive on the offensive side of the ball, and where are the blitzes put some heat on them, on open it up for Mack and Irvin , they cant block everybody.

  12. Whatever magic Del Rio had coming in is gone . I have yet to see him step up and BE a head coach . He puts all the coaching responsibilities on his staff , presumably so they can take the blame when things aren’t going well . I can’t remember one impact decision he has made on this team in his tenure . He’s the head coach . He’s supposed to change things if he isn’t happy with the way they’re going . Downing and Norton work for him , not the other way around . To hear him say he can’t answer a question as to why his offense suddenly went soft yesterday is not a response as an owner that I would feel good about . If he wanted more offense , he should have told Downing so . He’s a defensive guy right ? Wouldn’t his input on Buffalo’s defensive adjustments been handy ? He could have taken a moment to mentor his OC and say ” hey , look . they’re doing this or that , here’s what you can call that gives us a chance to beat that coverage “. As a defensive guy , he has to know the weaknesses of a certain coverage and certain fronts . He picked Downing so he needs to take responsibility for him instead of letting him flounder and sarcastically blaming him in front of the press . His comments this year , I believe , have separated him from the team . There’s Jack and then there’s everybody else . I do think they need better staff under him but if he can’t right the ship and hold this team together while holding them accountable , perhaps his welcome is also worn out .

  13. OC and DC got to go the sceme sucks why would a D back play behind the first down yardage marker and let the WR catch the ball every single time. I love JDR but he has to show a pair of balls right now and get rid of the OC and DC. If he rides it out then they all have to go next year, The O line was one of the best in league last year now we have Lynch and he cant even get a yard its a coaching problem. I’m sick watching it to many California snowflakes on the team and not standing for the Anthem makes me sick I refuse to watch and buy any apparel for the rest of the season.

  14. So we improved on Defense???? We still can’t stop a play on third down. The same thing on D is that we are pretty good in the red zone. Other then that we suck. Norton has to go now. I think we brought in Pagano and made up a title just for this. Man up JDR and take the egg on the face and fire both Downing and Norton. Maybe then we can turn things around and shake things up. Otherwise the whole coaching staff may be looking for jobs. That will suck and feel like the beginning of mess that happened after we traded CHUCKY. How do we go 3-13 to 12-4 and now out of the gate. 3-5. F***

  15. Call Norv Turner in to take over the offense from Downing now so he can get the team use to his system before next season and get rid of this college offense that looks like what Carr ran at Fresno State. Turner can restore a running game that helps eat up the clock and limit the possessions for the opponent.

    The defense get worn down from all the three-and-outs from the offense.

    1. Excellent sideline suggestion.
      We had Turner before, but this would be different with the college QB coach with Carr keeping continuity.

  16. I hope Alabama win the National Title…the Raiders team needs a Nick Saban type coach or Nick Saban period…need a coach that’s not playing no games…I know yall go say he stunk in miami…but remember Saban wanted Breese not Culpepper…I thought JDR was a good coach…and yes Downing and Norton suck…but that doesn’t mean there always gonna suck..Norton definitely needs replaced ASAP..he might do better on his second time coachin a defense… I think its gonna take us to play the Patriots were they put 40-50 points on us to show Norton the door…but season will be over

Comments are closed.