ALAMEDA – Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing has a game to plan. Sunday's regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Chargers has his full attention, even with playoffs out of the picture.
That might seem difficult, with so much speculation about his long-term job status. Downing insists that talk of his job being in jeopardy hasn't become a distraction.
"Honestly, no. I live in the moment," Downing said Thursday. "I try to be the best version of myself I can be each individual day. My task right now is to get this offense ready to play the Chargers. Until Sunday is over, I really won't even think about it."
It might become a focal point after the season. There's a real possibility the Raiders move on from Downing, and search for another offensive coordinator.
Downing isn't solely to blame for an offense that has fallen on hard times. Execution has been a real issue, quarterback Derek Carr, a slowly-evolving run game and a struggling receiver corps.
The 36-year old first-time play caller hasn't shied from blame, and hasn't pointed fingers anywhere.
"I'm a person that preaches accountability," Downing said. "I definitely look in the mirror first. So, I have plenty of notes on things I want to do differently going forward. I would hope that that would be a leadership quality that would translate to other people doing the same. If we all take that approach I think we'll like the result moving forward."
Downing continues to moving forward and be forward thinking, even amid questions about his future here. He was also asked what he would do differently with the offense, which didn't produce steadily throughout the year.
"There are some specifics throughout the course of the season," Downing said. "Maybe a little bit different play here, a little different play there. It's way too early and like I said, my focus is on the Chargers. When we talk in the offseason, I can give you more analysis of things we want to change."
Head coach Jack Del Rio praised Downing on Wednesday, saying he believed in his young offensive coordinator and believes he has a bright future in the league while acknowledging the offense hasn't produced enough. Vocal support is one thing. Actions are something different. Dismissing Downing would be the easiest impactful move, with so many key offensive players making big money.
Coaches on a hot seat can start making excuses at this stage in an attempt to preserve a position. Downing hasn't done that. He continues to grind for his unit. He has taken full responsibility for his role in offensive struggles, and believes more time could help the unit produce efficiently.
"I remember speaking to you guys a few weeks back saying we're right there. I believe that," Downing said. "I believe we have the right kind of guys around here. I believe we have the right group of coaches. I believe we have the right personnel. We just need to quarter turn a couple things and get this thing back on track."