Raiders quarterbacks coach Todd Downing’s work with Derek Carr this season earned him recognition from analytics website Pro Football Focus.
The site handed out its inaugural position coach awards and named Downing its Quarterbacks Coach of the Year.
Here is PFF’s write up on Downing:
“While people saw talent in rookie QB Derek Carr, he was still our 38th of 39 ranked quarterback in 2014. His deep and underneath game was significantly flawed, and his ability to read blitzes remained poor. That completely changed in 2015, turning into a borderline top-10 signal caller whose deep game has improved out of all recognition, with a penchant for taking on extra rushers—his QB rating when blitzed is now 108.7. Downing deserves credit for his part in turning Carr from a borderline case to a franchise-worthy player.”
Carr certainly had his struggles down the stretch of the season as the offense never really discovered its potent self following the 38-35 loss at Pittsburgh. But Year 2 was still a major step forward for Carr, who threw for the third-most passing yards in a single-season in Raiders history and the second-most touchdowns.
Carr also led the league with 13 touchdown passes of 25-or-more yards, proof of his improved ability to push the ball down the field. Downing, in his first year on the Raiders staff, certainly deserves some of the credit for that.
PFF also recognized Mice Tice as the first runner-up for its Offensive Line Coach of the Year award, which went to the Atlanta Falcons’ Chris Morgan.
Tice corralled together a group that played about as well as any line for the first two-thirds of the season. Again, it wasn’t as strong down the stretch when the offense tailed off, but for the season PFF rated the Raiders as the league’s second-best pass blocking team behind the Dallas Cowboys.
Tice had an immediate challenge when Menelik Watson, the leader to serve as the starter right tackle, ruptured his Achilles in the preseason. Austin Howard stepped in and the right side of the line, along with guard J’Marcus Webb, was expected to struggle. However, that pair faired pretty well together.
More shuffling was required toward the end of the year when Howard went out with a knee injury and rookie Jon Feliciano was given a shot, which was probably important considering he could be counted on next year.