Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer 351d

Todd Downing: Jack Del Rio and Derek Carr on 'same page'

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Jack Del Rio said a Hail Mary pass to the end zone was called for the final play of the first half in Buffalo on Sunday.

Derek Carr insisted the math -- as many as seven defenders covering three Oakland Raiders pass-catchers -- did not work in his favor, so he threw a 2-yard dump-off pass to the middle of the field.

Welp ...

“Derek and Jack are on the same page there,” first-year offensive coordinator Todd Downing said Thursday. “It’s not like they’re divided in the thinking of it. It’s just a matter of their game review being in a little different moods, I guess.

“The important thing is, we’re all on the same page and going forward we’ll all execute better.”

Got it?

Or to quote Kevin Bacon’s Chip Diller character from “Animal House,” “Remain calm. All is well.”

Frustrated Raiders fans, though, are more prone to Diller’s other memorable line, the pledge scene where he says, “Thank you, sir, may I have another,” over and over again as he gets swatted.

Because this was supposed to be a quick-strike offense that, well, struck fear in opposing defenses. Instead, the Raiders are taking their lumps, and fans keep coming back for more, as in more out passes on third-and-long situations. And dump-offs on Hail Mary situations.

“I take it all in, ‘Yes, sir, whatever you want,’” Carr said. “But at the same time, I’m going to continue to play the game how I think is best for our team.”

So should Carr have heaved the ball into the end zone, a la Aaron Rodgers?

“Yeah, I think if we’re calling a vertical shot, giving three guys a chance to go up and get the ball, that we give that a shot,” Downing said. “Derek had his logic in that moment and I’ve got to do a better job of coaching.”

Of course, there is a fine line between taking what the defense gives you, and taking what you want. And yes, that hearkens Al Davis’ philosophy.

Even with defenses playing “soft” by going zone and allowing passes underneath while taking away the deep ball. But that’s what Marshawn Lynch was supposed to bring, no? Pounding Lynch up the middle was supposed to open up the play-action game.

Good luck with that against the Miami Dolphins and Ndamukong Suh come Sunday night, though.

“I think that is a fine line, and I think sometimes the defense is giving you more than what you may originally think,” Downing said. “So it’s my job to design a good game plan that attacks the softness in defenses or the vulnerabilities, if you will. And [it’s] also my job or the coaching staff’s job to get people in the right place at the right time so that we can go out and execute.

“So we’ll continue to improve in all of those areas and look forward to the second half of the season.”

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